A high carbohydrate diet, especially refined carbs, can have a negative effect on your overall health by contributing to increases in risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Including too many carbs on your dinner plate can also have detrimental effects on your cognitive function and your risk of developing issues such as Alzheimer’s.

This study, from the European Journal of Internal Medicine, looked at how a high carbohydrate diet, particularly from fructose, coupled with a deficiency in fats & cholesterol, may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The study discusses the potential link between Alzheimer’s and insulin resistance in the brain, AD and mitochondrial dysfunction and the importance of fats and cholesterol in protecting against oxidative damage. It also points out the parallel rise in AD and the avoidance of fats and cholesterol, beginning in the 1960s and that AD patients are deficient in these essential nutrients in their cerebral spinal fluid. The researchers conclude that a diet with less highly-processed carbohydrates and relatively more fats and cholesterol is likely protective against Alzheimer’s disease.

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Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet. European Journal of Internal Medicine (2011) 22 (2): 134-140 first published online January 26,2011 doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2010.12.017