Does chewing gum make you fat?

Does chewing gum make you fat

United States is largest consumer of chewing gum in the world, with 650 grams per person per year. A small chewing gum which also maintains all the fantasies: it would take turns to gain or lose weight, cause intestinal disorders or allow one to concentrate. So, chewing gum, a source of extra pounds? Or on the contrary, lose weight?

Does chewing gum make you hungry?

Many people agree that chewing gum causes hunger : constant chewing and increased absorption of saliva causes stomach cramps, similar to those you experience when you are hungry . Thus, our brain would be fooled and we would be more inclined to eat , to soothe the contractions of our stomach.

Yet some studies contradict this belief  :

  • A study conducted in 2013 concludes that chewing gum would have no effect on feelings of hunger, or on ghrelin concentrations , or on blood sugar.
  • Another 2015 study , examining the benefits of chewing, demonstrated that chewing accelerated satiety and therefore had a positive influence on food intake.
  • A final analysis subjected a group of men of normal weight and in good health to a 12 hour fast. Then they chewed sugar-free chewing gum for 30 minutes. The results show reduced hunger, faster satiety, and no impact on insulin or blood sugar.

Also, it seems that chewing gum would not cause an increased feeling of hunger and would even accelerate the feeling of fullness . Therefore, it would not make you fat.

Does chewing gum have an influence on food choices?

The finding on chewing gum is nevertheless more complex. Indeed, a study published in Eating Behavior has concluded that chewing gum, whether menthol or fruity, has a bad influence on food choices .

  • The volunteers who chewed mint-flavored chewing gum tended to go for unhealthy foods (junk food, chips or cookies) and to reject the fruit .
  • The volunteers who chewed fruity-flavored chewing gum also neglected the fruit, but to a lesser extent.

The author of the study explains this phenomenon very simply: eating fruit after chewing gum would leave a bitter taste in the mouth, so that one would be more attracted to other food groups.

In addition, the study found that people who chew gum before each meal would tend to eat fewer meals, but the meals they would eat would be higher in calories . In question: less informed food choices, which give pride of place to fatty , salty or sweet foods .

Does chewing gum make you lose weight?

The debate on chewing gum and its possible effects on weight is therefore in full swing. Japanese researchers have studied the repercussions of chewing combined with physical activity . They indeed subjected male and female volunteers, aged 21 to 69, to a new experience: walking for 15 minutes, at a normal pace, chewing gum. The results are surprising:

  • Men aged 40 and over tend to walk faster when they chew, which burns more calories .
  • Conversely, in women, no repercussions of chewing gum on cardio-motor synchronization are observed.

Another study, less fanciful, from the University of Rhode Island, however, confirms the slimming virtues of chewing gum: people who have chewed sugar-free chewing gum, before going to the table, consume an average of 68 calories. less, without post-meal food compensation . In addition, “serial chewers” burn on average 5% more calories than non-chewing gum enthusiasts.

However, other studies contradict these results: a 2011 analysis concluded that chewing gum had no slimming effect on obese adults .

In conclusion…

It is therefore difficult to conclude on the possible slimming benefits of chewing gum, just as it is impossible to say that it makes you fat . Even today, debates are open and studies and counter-studies are increasing.

Besides, chewing gum produces multiple effects on the body , sometimes very surprising:

  • It increases concentration and reactivity
  • It reduces stress
  • It helps maintain good breath and good oral hygiene (effects of salivation), provided it is sugar-free
  • It induces unnecessary absorption of air and hence causes bloating and belching

Complete guide to the low carbohydrate diet (to lose weight and optimize your health)

Low Carbohydrate Diet

You’ve been lied to about food

Your health and performance today are intimately linked to your past diet: what you ate the day before, during the last week, the last month, the last year.

English speakers say: Garbage in, garbage out. This means that if you put bad things into a system, you get equally bad results: bad food, therefore bad health.

Exceptionally, I sometimes eat fast food (without taking fries or soda in order to limit the damage). Systematically, I notice this after a few hours:

  • Less energy and more desire to sleep (compared to a normal meal),
  • Having difficulty concentrating,
  • I have either more or less stomach ache.

And a few hours later, I’m very hungry.

All that for this ?

Let’s go to the extreme.

If for a whole month you eat only bad food, then your health will deteriorate, you will feel bad and you will be ineffective: watch the Morgan Spurlock documentary .

But you’re on this blog, so you’re looking for the opposite effect: you want to maximize your efficiency, health, and well-being.

While I was looking for an optimal diet, a few years ago I discovered the low-carbohydrate diet, whose promises seemed too good to be true: weight loss without being hungry, optimal health, reversing diabetes, reducing hypertension, etc.

I was surprised, because most of the media and experts said (and continue to say) that in order to be healthy and / or lose weight, you have to eat “balanced” and:

  • Base each meal on complex carbohydrates (rice, bread, pasta and other starches)
  • Avoid lipids (butter, oil, fatty meats, etc.)

Both curious and skeptical, I proceeded as follows:

  1. I spent hours analyzing the scientific literature on this subject. I concluded that the low carb diet was good, and a one-month test would be harmless.
  2. For a month I tested this diet and saw the results in terms of my well-being and my efficiency (the results were excellent: I felt better, more alert and in better shape).
  3. At the end of this test I did a blood test to test my health (the test was just as satisfactory).

Since then, I have moved away from the usual recommendations and adopted a low-carb, high-fat diet (with some deviations from time to time) and constantly testing personal adjustments.

Because even if there are almost universal facts (example: almost certainly, sodas are bad for the health of all humans), certain foods are more or less good for different people (example: if you are slightly allergic to a particular food, it is better to realize this and adjust).

I think the low carb diet or some variation of it can benefit the vast majority of people. That’s why I’ve translated a complete guide to the low-carb diet for you from the Diet Doctor reference site .

Before you start the guide, read this:

  • The guide goes against official “anti-fat” guidelines (which are based on old arguments refuted dozens of times by recent and serious scientific research ), so you will probably jump at times. Stay open-minded, think critically, carefully analyze the evidence, and form your own opinion.
  • All the content that follows is a translation as faithful as possible of the following page:  http://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb .
  • The many scientific sources are cited in parts 1 and 5: examine them. 

Good reading !

1. Low-carb diet: introduction

This guide is based on low-carb diets, and it will give you the following results:

  • Effortless Weight Loss,
  • Optimal health,
  • Reversal of diabetes.

More specifically, this guide details the low carbohydrate and high fat diet. It allows you to be slimmer and healthier by eating real food, without feeling hungry.

Does this sound too good to be true? Check out the many  success stories  and dozens of scientific studies  that prove it works.

A low carbohydrate diet means you eat less carbohydrates and more fat. Above all, you limit your intake of sugar and starches. You can eat other delicious foods until you feel full, and lose weight.

Many  recent and good scientific studies show that the low carbohydrate diet makes weight loss easy and helps control  blood sugar levels . And that’s just the start.

The basics

  • Eat:  Meat, fish, eggs, vegetables that grow above the ground, natural fats (like butter).
  • Avoid:  Sugar and starchy foods (such as bread, pasta, rice, beans, and potatoes).
Eat when you are hungry, and eat your fill. It’s as simple as that !

You do n’t need to count calories or weigh your food. And forget about light industrial products.

There are solid scientific reasons for why low-carb diets work. When you avoid sugars and starches, the amount of sugar in your blood stabilizes and the levels of insulin (the hormone that activates the storage of fat) decrease. This increases fat burning, and gives you better satiety.

Note for diabetics

Carbohydrates increase your blood sugar level. If you avoid them, then you have less need for medicines to lower blood sugar levels.

So if you continue to take your usual dose of insulin after eating a low carbohydrate diet, you may have hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels).

When you start this diet, you should therefore:
  • Frequently test your blood sugar level,
  • Adapt (lower) your medication intake.

Ideally, do this with the assistance of a competent physician.

If you are not diabetic, or if you are a diabetic treated only with diet or Meftormin, there is no risk of hypoglycaemia.

2. What to eat?

Eat at will

  • Meats:  Any type, including beef, pork, game meat, chicken, etc. You can eat the fat of the meat as well as the skin of the chicken. If possible, try to choose organic or grass-fed meat.
  • Fish and Seafood: Any type. In particular, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are excellent. Avoid raised fish.
  • Eggs:  All types: boiled, fried, omelet, etc. Prefer organic eggs or eggs raised in the open air.
  • Natural fats, high fat sauces:  Use butter and cream for cooking, it will flavor and you will be fuller. Try the béarnaise and hollandaise sauces: check the ingredients or make them yourself. Coconut oil and olive oil are other good options.
  • Vegetables that grow above ground: All types of cabbage, such as cauliflower, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts. Asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, olives, spinach, mushrooms, salads, avocados, onions, peppers, tomatoes, etc.
  • Dairy products:  Always choose whole products (not low fat) like real butter, cream (40% fat), sour cream, Greek yogurt and fatty cheese. Be careful with milk as it contains a lot of milk sugar. Avoid flavored, sweet or “light” products.
  • Nuts:  Excellent for snacking instead of candy (ideally in moderation).
  • Berries: Raspberries, currants, blueberries, etc. OK in moderation, if you are not very strict or allergic. Excellent with whipped cream.

Read the label when you are at the store. A good simple rule of thumb: no more than 5% carbohydrate for any given food.

Avoid if you can

  • Sugar : The worst. Sodas, sweets, fruit juices, energy drinks, sports drinks, hamburger buns, chocolates, cakes, pastries, ice cream, breakfast cereals. Try to avoid sweeteners too.
  • Starchy foods : Breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, fries, chips, porridge, muesli, etc. Whole grain products are just less bad. Legumes such as white beans and lentils are high in carbohydrates. If your diet is not strict, you can eat potatoes and other legumes in moderation.
  • Margarine:  It is an industrial imitation of butter with an unnatural omega-6 level. No health benefits, bad taste. Statistically linked to asthma, allergies and other inflammatory diseases.
  • Beer : Liquid bread. Unfortunately, it’s full of quickly absorbed carbohydrates.
  • Fruits : Lots of sugar. Think of fruit as natural candy, to be eaten in moderation.

Sometimes

It’s up to you to decide when you want to afford it. Your weight loss may slow down a bit.

  • Alcohol:  Dry red or white wines, whiskey, brandy, vodka and other cocktails without sugar.
  • Dark chocolate:  At least 70% cocoa, preferably in moderation.

Drinks

  • Water
  • Coffee:  Try with whole cream
  • Tea

And without adding sugar, of course.

How much should you restrict carbohydrates?

The less carbohydrate you eat, the better the effects on your weight and blood sugar levels. I advise you to follow these tips as strictly as you want. When you are satisfied with your weight and health, you can gradually add carbohydrates.

On the other hand, if you are thin and in good health, you can eat a little starchy foods and gluten-free legumes: rice, potatoes, kidney beans, etc.

Here are three examples of low-carb meals. They vary depending on the amount of carbohydrates you eat per day. The small yellow pieces are pieces of herb butter .

3. How low carb diets work

What are you supposed to eat?

Humans have evolved for millions of years as hunter-gatherers, without eating large amounts of carbohydrates. We ate whatever food we found by hunting, fishing, and gathering what was edible. These foods did not contain starchy foods in the form of bread, pasta, rice or potatoes. We have only eaten these starches for 5,000 to 10,000 years, since the beginning of agriculture. Such a small period of time allows only limited genetic adaptation.

With the industrial revolution of 100 – 200 years ago, we established factories that could produce large quantities of pure sugar and flour. Quickly digested pure carbohydrates. We barely had time to genetically adapt to these types of industrial foods.

In the 1980s, the fear of fat gripped the western world. “Light” products reduced in fat have appeared everywhere. But if you eat less fat you need to eat more carbohydrates to be full. And it was at this point in history that our disastrous obesity and diabetes epidemic began. The country that has demonized fat the most, the USA, has been hit the hardest and is now the most obese country in the world.

Today it is clear that the fear of real food rich in natural fat has been a huge mistake.

The problem caused by sugar and starches

All digestible carbohydrates (bread, pasta, etc.) are transformed into simple sugars in the intestines. The sugar is thus absorbed into the blood, which raises the sugar level in the blood. This increases the production of insulin. Insulin activates the storage of fat by the body.

Insulin is produced by the pancreas. In large amounts, insulin prevents fat burning and stores excess nutrients in fat cells. After a certain period of time (a few hours or less), it can lead to a perceived lack of nutrients in the blood, which creates hunger and the urge to eat something sweet. This is when people eat again. This restarts the cycle: it is a vicious circle that leads to weight gain.

On the contrary, low carbohydrate intake gives you lower and more stable blood sugar levels, and therefore less insulin. This increases the release of fat from your fat stores, and increases fat burning. This usually results in fat loss, especially in the stomach area in obese people.

Weight loss without hunger

A diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat lowers the level of insulin in your blood, which helps your body to use up its fat stores. This is probably the reason why eating fat makes you more full than eating carbohydrates. It has been shown in many studies that when people are on a low carbohydrate diet and eat at will, they typically take in  fewer calories.

So there is no need to count or weigh your food. You can forget about calories and trust your feelings of hunger and fullness. If you don’t believe it, try it for a few weeks and see the results.

Health as a bonus

No animal in the wild needs the assistance of nutritional experts or calorie charts to eat. And yet, as long as they eat the food they’re supposed to eat, they stay at a normal weight, and prevent cavities, diabetes, and heart disease. Why would humans be an exception? Why would you be an exception?

In scientific studies, the low-carb diet doesn’t just reduce weight. It also improves blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol profile, and triglyceride levels. It generally gives a calmer stomach, and less craving for sugary foods.

Initial side effects

If you suddenly stop sugars and starches (recommended), you may have side effects as your body adjusts. For most people, these side effects are mild and last only a few days. There are also ways to eliminate them.

Common side effects during the first week:

  • Headache
  • Tired
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Irritability

These side effects subside quickly as your body adjusts and fat burning increases. You can minimize these effects by drinking more and increasing your salt intake a little temporarily. A good option is to drink broth several times a day. Or, drink more water and put a little more salt in your food.

The reason for these side effects is that foods high in carbohydrate can increase your water retention. When you stop eating foods high in carbohydrates, you lose excess water through your kidneys. This can lead to dehydration and a lack of salt for the first week as the body adjusts.

Some people prefer to slowly decrease their carbohydrate intake over a few weeks to minimize side effects. But the Nike Way (Just Do It) is probably the best choice for most people. Cutting out sugars and carbohydrates makes you lose weight in the first few days. Even though it’s mostly fluids, it’s great for motivation.


Meal suggestions for breakfast:

  • Eggs and bacon (obviously, homemade or artisanal bacon is superior to industrial bacon)
  • Omelette
  • Leftovers from last night’s dinner
  • Coffee with cream
  • A box of mackerel and hard-boiled eggs
  • Hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise or butter
  • Avocado, salmon and cream
  • Sandwich with  Oopsie-bread
  • Cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs crushed with butter, chives, salt and pepper
  • Brie with ham or salami
  • Greek yogurt with nuts or seeds (and possibly berries)

Don’t like to eat in the morning? With a low-carb diet, you may not feel hungry in the morning. If so, you can skip breakfast perfectly .

Meal suggestions for lunch and dinner: 

  • Meat, chicken or fish dishes with vegetables and a sauce rich in natural lipids. There are plenty of alternatives to potatoes, such as mashed cauliflower.
  • Stews, soups or casseroles with low carbohydrate ingredients.
  • You can use most cookbook recipes if you avoid high carbohydrate ingredients. Do not hesitate to add lipids (examples: butter, cream) to your recipe. Or buy a paleo cookbook.
  • Drink water with your meal, and occasionally a glass of wine.

Snacks / Snacks

With a low-carb diet, you probably won’t need to eat as often as before. Don’t be surprised if you don’t need to snack anymore. Many people function well with 2 or 3 meals a day. If you need a snack:

  • Cheese / ham roll (like Boursin) with a vegetable
  • Olives
  • Nuts
  • A piece of cheese
  • A hard-boiled egg taken out of the refrigerator
  • Canned Mackerel in Tomato Sauce

Olives and nuts can replace crisps when you’re watching TV. If you’re still hungry between meals, it’s probably because you’re not eating enough fat. Don’t be afraid of lipids. Eat more fat until you are full.

Eat at a restaurant or with friends

  • Restaurants: Usually not a big deal. You can ask for salad or vegetables instead of potatoes / fries / rice. Ask for extra butter (not margarine!).
  • Fast food: Kebabs can be decent (without bread). At burger chains, burgers are usually the less bad choices. Avoid soda and fries, of course. Drink water. Pizza toppings are generally acceptable, and the more strict you are in your diet the less dough you will eat.
  • If you eat strictly in everyday life, you can make a few exceptions when you are invited. If you are not sure what food will be served, you can have something to eat at home before you go.
  • Nuts and cheeses are good emergency foods when there are no other good choices.

Shopping list for beginners

Print out this list and bring it with you when you shop:

  • Butter
  • Whole cream (40% fat)
  • Sour cream (whole)
  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Meat (minced meat, steaks, stew / fondue pieces, fillets, etc.)
  • Fish (ideally fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel)
  • Cheese (preferably fatty)
  • Turkish yogurt (10% fat)
  • Cabbage (green cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, wedge cabbage, etc.)
  • All other vegetables that grow above the ground
  • Frozen vegetables (broccoli, wok vegetables, etc.) 
  • Lawyers
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Nuts, almonds

Clean your cupboards

Do you want to maximize your chances of success? Especially when you have addictions, it is better to throw away or give foods containing sugars and starches, light products, etc.

This includes :

  • Candies
  • Chips
  • Soda and juice
  • Margarine and vegetable oils
  • Sugar in all its forms
  • Bread
  • Flour
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Breakfast cereals
  • All products labeled “light”
  • Ice
  • Cookies and biscuits

Why not do it now?

The serpent in paradise

Beware of products labeled “low in carbohydrates,” like pasta or chocolate. Unfortunately, these products do not work well. They have sabotaged the weight loss of many people. They are generally loaded with carbohydrates, despite their creative marketing.

For example, Dreamsfield’s “low carbohydrate pasta” is pure starchy foods, which are absorbed more or less like normal pasta. They are just absorbed more slowly:

What about low-carb bread? Be careful: if it is bread made with cereals, it is certainly not low in carbohydrates! But some brands try to sell them to you as low-carb options. Here is an example :

  • Julian Bakery’s Low Carb Fake Bread

Low-carb chocolate is usually filled with sugar alcohols, which the manufacturer does not count as carbohydrates. But about half of these carbohydrates can be absorbed, which increases blood sugar and insulin levels. The rest of the carbohydrates end up in the colon, which can cause gas and diarrhea. Plus sweeteners can keep cravings off sugar.

Instead, take real dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) in moderation.

Bottom line: if you want to be slim and healthy, eat real food.

Recipes

4 Easy ways to make eggs

  1. Put the eggs in cold water and boil for 4 minutes or 8 minutes. If you want, eat them with homemade mayonnaise.
  2. Fry the eggs in butter, on one or both sides. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Fry some butter and add two eggs and 2 or 3 tablespoons of heavy cream per person. Add salt and pepper. Mix. Add chives and grated cheese. Serve with fried bacon.
  4. In a bowl, beat three eggs and add three tablespoons of cream. Add salt and spices. Fry the butter in the pan and pour the preparation. When the surface becomes solid, you can add something good. For example, cheese, fried bacon, fried mushrooms, a good sausage (read the ingredients and prefer an artisan sausage over an industrial sausage), or leftovers from dinner from the night before. Fold the omelet in half and serve with a crunchy salad.

Snacks and desserts

  • Mixture of nuts, almonds, etc.
  • Quality sausages  : Cut them into pieces, add a piece of cheese and prick them with a toothpick.
  • Vegetables with a sauce:  Try cucumber or pepper sticks, pieces of cauliflower, etc.
  • Cheese  rolls : Spread creamy cheese (like Boursin) in a slice of ham or salami.
  • Olives
  • Low-carb crisps:  On a baking sheet, make small piles of grated cheese (Parmesan or other). Each pile makes one tablespoon. Heat the oven to 225 ° C. Let your chips melt and take on a nice color (be careful, they burn easily). Serve like crisps, possibly with a dip sauce.

RECIPE BOOKS

There are hundreds of low-carb cookbooks, including the Paleo cookbooks. Just avoid the pounds that avoid fat. Remember: if you avoid carbohydrates, you must  eat more fat or you will be hungry. Don’t be afraid of fat. Fat is your friend. Add fat until you are no longer hungry.

Also, avoid cookbooks filled with sweeteners, desserts, and other “treat foods”. Because if you abuse this stuff it will sabotage your weight loss.

5. Reversal of diabetes and normalization of blood sugar levels

Do you have type 2 diabetes? If not, you probably know someone who has diabetes. The low carb diet is great for treating type 2 diabetes.

Eating less of the things that turn into blood sugar (carbohydrates) makes it easier to have low blood sugar. Restricting carbohydrates can be so effective that diabetics should immediately reduce their dose of medication (especially insulin).

Less blood sugar from day one. Less need for medication. And a bonus weight loss.

Learn more about diabetes and the low-carb diet .

PS: people who have type 1 diabetes can also benefit from a low carbohydrate diet.

Normalization of blood pressure

Low-carb diets lower blood pressure in those with high blood pressure. This has been clearly proven in scientific studies, and this is what a lot of people find when they try.

In fact, this effect can be so marked that those taking blood pressure medication may feel tired or dizzy from too low blood pressure. These people have become too healthy for their medication!

If this happens, you will need to reduce the dose of your high blood pressure medicine, or stop taking it entirely, after talking to your doctor.

Learn more about blood pressure and the low-carb diet.

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The ketogenic diet in Alzheimer’s disease: how ketones affect the brain

Alzheimer how ketones affect the brain

Can the Keto Diet Help With Alzheimer’s Disease? Everything about the advantages and disadvantages of a ketogenic diet for Alzheimer’s.

And what role the ketones play in it, as well as the benefits of the keto diet.

Around 5 million people currently live with dementia in USA. Most of them are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

As a result of demographic changes, there are far more new cases than deaths among those who are already sick. For this reason, the number of people with dementia is increasing continuously.

Currently, the standard treatment for Alzheimer’s dementia aims to address symptoms and behavioral problems. Unfortunately there is no cure (yet).

However, recent research on ketones and the keto diet suggests that a ketogenic diet could have beneficial effects on the disease.

While the science of keto and Alzheimer’s is relatively new, there is already a lot to discuss.

Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of Alzheimer’s disease, whether the ketogenic diet could prevent or reverse the disease, and for a careful, evidence-based analysis of the risks and benefits of the keto diet.

What is Alzheimer’s?

The Alzheimer’s disease , on the German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer first reported in 1907, is a form of progressive dementia.

Researchers estimate that over 25 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease. It is the cause of the majority of dementia cases.

Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than men, and they are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s earlier in life.

Doctors typically divide the disease into early, middle, and late stages.

Early Alzheimer’s disease is difficult to spot and can mimic the normal effects of aging on memory . The cognitive decline usually starts gradually and gets worse over time.

Most patients are only diagnosed when learning disabilities and memory loss interfere with their daily life.

Symptoms include:

  • Episodes of forgetfulness
  • Forgot the names of friends
  • Confusion in unfamiliar situations
  • Difficulty remembering recently learned information
  • Repeating conversations
  • Confusion deepens over time
  • Broken sleep
  • Inability to understand where you are
  • Problems speaking
  • Emotional and “acting out” symptoms such as depression, fear, verbal abuse or paranoia

Over time, challenges such as the inability to recognize people, wandering around, and aggression lead to increased need for care.

Eventually, the progression of Alzheimer’s disease leads to a complete loss of patient independence. In the advanced stages, they can be totally dependent on caregivers for basic needs such as eating and using the toilet.

Life expectancy is three to nine years from the time of diagnosis.

Most of the time, complications of the disease such as dehydration, muscle wasting, or infection lead to death.

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?

The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are complex, and not all researchers agree on them.

In fact, it is a little misleading to even speak of a “cause” of Alzheimer’s disease.

Here’s a more scientific way to consider why and how the disease manifests itself:

  • Risk factors: characteristics that increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Etiology: a triggering event or process that triggers the disease.
  • Pathophysiology or pathogenesis: the disease process itself, or the exact way in which the disease affects the individual.

Unsurprisingly, research in all of these areas is critical to understanding, preventing, and treating Alzheimer’s disease.

For example, if you become familiar with risk factors , you can better understand your risk. This is useful for risk reduction, early detection and making important decisions in advance.

Studying the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease, which is relatively the least understood aspect, could lead to more effective prevention strategies.

And the better scientists and doctors understand the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease, the greater the hope for improved treatments that will slow or reverse the course of the disease.

Read on to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease risk factors, as well as leading theories about how it develops and how it progresses.

Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease

According to scientific knowledge, these are the most important risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease:

  • The age
  • Carrier of one or two copies of the APOE4 gene
  • Family History
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), also called concussions
  • Insulin Resistance
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic Inflammation
  • Overweight or Obesity
  • Smoking

While age is the most predictive risk factor, it isn’t very helpful on a personal level. After all, everyone gets older.

The only genetic marker with the highest predictive value for Alzheimer’s disease is at least one copy of the APOE4 gene mutation , which can increase your risk by two to three times. On the other hand, the APOE2 gene mutation can protect against Alzheimer’s.

It is known that having a close relative with Alzheimer’s disease increases one’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 73%.

Other factors, such as concussions, insulin resistance, and high blood pressure, can have a significant impact on risk. For example, mid-life high blood pressure can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 60-95%.

A 2017 study published in the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy concluded that up to a third of Alzheimer’s cases could be preventable if people take steps to avoid modifiable risk factors.

And, as you’ll learn in the next section, risk factors like inflammation, high blood pressure, and obesity are also related to leading theories about how Alzheimer’s disease begins and progresses.

Leading theories on Alzheimer’s disease

Family history and risk genes do not explain nearly 100% of Alzheimer’s cases.

So something needs to be done that will result in some people getting the disease while others being spared Alzheimer’s.

Previously, the leading theory of Alzheimer’s disease was the beta-amyloid plaque theory .

Researchers had observed for decades that the brain changes during Alzheimer’s disease. During autopsies, they found chaotic “tangles” caused by a type of plaque called beta-amyloid in the brains of deceased patients.

Since these changes were apparently related to the progression of the disease, it seemed like a safe bet that targeted plaque buildup could treat or even reverse Alzheimer’s disease.

Drug manufacturers then developed drugs to reduce the build-up of beta-amyloid plaque. Unfortunately, none of these drugs have given results in clinical trials.

The disappointing results suggest that while beta-amyloid formation in Alzheimer’s disease is definitely an issue, it is most likely a defense mechanism of the body or a side effect of the disease rather than the main cause.

New and improved theories on Alzheimer’s disease

  • The vascular hypothesis , which is based on the knowledge that blood flow to the brain was reduced in Alzheimer’s patients.
  • The glucose metabolism hypothesis , based on the observation of MRI and PET scans, that less sugar reaches the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and that the cells have difficulty using it as an energy source.
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction , which suggests that damaged mitochondria (the “powerhouses of cells”) in Alzheimer’s patients are not delivering energy to brain cells.
  • The radical oxidative species (ROS) damage hypothesis, which theorizes that poorly functioning cells negatively affect the brain by producing harmful free radicals.

The chances are pretty high that several of these theories are correct. In fact, they could all be correct.

Essentially, decreased blood flow to a person’s brain can lead to cell damage that prevents glucose metabolism.

This could lead to mitochondrial damage and further damage to brain cells, creating huge amounts of free radicals that get out of control and lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

And contrary to the beta-amyloid plaque theory, the more recent theories correlate with known risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

For example:

  • Traumatic brain injuries and concussions impede blood flow to the brain and create free radicals.
  • Obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking damage the delicate lining of the blood vessels.
  • Insulin resistance, inflammation, and obesity all lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and excessive free radical production.

This is where things get really interesting.

The ketogenic diet can directly impact blood flow, glucose metabolism, and mitochondrial dysfunction, as well as related risk factors such as high blood pressure, inflammation, and obesity.

In the next section, you will learn the currently known facts about ketosis and brain health .

What does ketosis do to the brain?

Ketosis refers to the natural production of ketone bodies in the liver. Ketone bodies, or ketones for short, are energy-rich molecules that your body produces in the absence of carbohydrates.

When you’re making ketones, it means your body is running on fat for fuel instead of relying on carbohydrates and sugars.

In order to achieve and maintain the state of ketosis, you must not consume more than 30-50 grams of carbohydrates per day .

When it comes to the brain, there are two key things to understand about ketosis and the keto diet:

  • Ketones have measurable effects on your brain.
  • The lack of carbohydrates also has effects on brain tissue and brain function.

In other words, certain effects of ketosis on the brain are due to the presence of ketones, while others are due to the lack of carbohydrates in your diet.

You can also achieve some of the effects of ketosis through the use of supplements like medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT oil) without minimizing carbohydrates.

What you need to know about ketones and the brain:

  • Brain’s most efficient fuel and are more easily absorbed than glucose (simple sugars).
  • It have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the brain, meaning they can prevent or limit cell damage.
  • Ketones in your brain cause epigenetic changes, including DNA methylation and gene expression.

And this is what happens to your brain when you drastically reduce your intake of carbohydrates:

  • Less free radicals are produced from glucose, which means less cell damage.
  • Your body, including your brain, becomes more sensitive to the effects of the hormone insulin.
  • Similar to fasting , autophagy and mitophagy occur – meaning your brain can eliminate or “recycle” damaged tissue, cells, and mitochondria.

Remember, the facts above are what we know from current peer-reviewed research. These findings are general and not specific to people with Alzheimer’s disease.

By now, you may be wondering what the effects of a keto diet on Alzheimer’s disease. Read on to find out!

Can a Keto Diet Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

Let’s start with one essential fact: There is no research yet that definitely proves that keto can prevent Alzheimer’s.

However, there are many promising findings. In this section you will learn how keto can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by improving modifiable risk factors.

Keto and Modifiable Risk Factors

As discussed in an earlier section, up to a third of all Alzheimer’s cases can be prevented by deliberately altering risk factors (as opposed to aging, genes, or family history, which cannot be changed).

First, let’s look at the known modifiable risk factors:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Smoke

Now is the time to take a look at how keto interacts with each of these risk factors.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

While no one chooses to get traumatic brain injury or concussions, there is substantial evidence that keto reduces the harmful effects of traumatic brain injury in animals and possibly humans.

These effects certainly apply after TBI, but if you are already in ketosis before you suffer a head injury, the benefits of ketosis for TBI are even more pronounced.

In other words, traumatic brain injuries increase your risk of Alzheimer’s, but keto appears to decrease the damage caused by TBI.

Insulin resistance

Next up: insulin resistance.

Some researchers have started to refer to Alzheimer’s as “type 3 diabetes” because severe insulin resistance increases the risk of the disease by up to four times .

The pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s dementia also has a lot in common with diabetes . Both diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease result in glucose hypometabolism, mitochondrial dysfunction, and free radical damage.

Insulin resistance is mainly caused by excessive carbohydrate intake. So it’s hardly surprising that a low-carb keto diet is a fantastic way to improve insulin sensitivity, including in the brain.

Numerous studies show that on a keto diet you can get better results on blood tests such as fasting insulin, fasting blood sugar, and glycated hemoglobin.

In other words, insulin resistance increases your risk of Alzheimer’s, but keto can improve insulin sensitivity.

For even better results, you should combine keto with regular exercise .

High blood pressure

So far so good! What about the blood pressure?

According to a systematic review from the British Journal of Nutrition , keto can lead to significant reductions in blood pressure.

And not only that, the effects go beyond what can be explained by sodium restriction and weight loss .

In other words, the ketogenic diet may have a unique ability to lower blood pressure not found on other diets. This is excellent news when it comes to reducing your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation in the body can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

For example, high blood sugar is a known cause of chronic inflammation and also correlates with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

A ketogenic diet improves your mitochondrial health and reduces oxidative stress . It also increases your body’s natural ability to suppress inflammation.

Overweight or obesity

The fact that keto is fantastic for losing weight is hardly a secret.

But unlike other diets, the ketogenic diet allows you to lose weight with minimal hunger and lots of energy.

Not only that, most people don’t even have to count calories to lose weight with keto.

All you have to do is calculate your keto macronutrients, compile a keto food list and shopping list, and follow them consistently.

It is also a good idea to measure your ketone levels to make sure that you are actually in ketosis.

Smoke

Quitting smoking can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 58%.

But how is smoking related to the ketogenic diet?

Believe it or not, a 2010 study published in the journal Trials concluded that obese adults on the keto diet might even find it easier to quit smoking.

A win-win situation!

Can Keto Reverse Alzheimer’s Disease?

The short answer: Nobody knows yet whether keto can reverse Alzheimer’s disease.

There are no randomized controlled trials of the diets of Alzheimer’s patients, so there simply isn’t enough data to confirm one thing or the other.

However, some doctors are currently using the ketogenic diet to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

There is also promising evidence of improved cognition from studies of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) who were given ketogenic supplements such as MCT oil and exogenous ketone bodies.

And according to the authors of a 2019 study from the prestigious journal Nutrition:

“… the ketogenic diet could be an effective treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, but this could require both ketone production and carbohydrate restriction”.

Next, we’ll look in depth at how ketosis interacts with known mechanisms that contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ketosis and Alzheimer’s Pathogenesis

As mentioned earlier, here are the four main pathways that appear to contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Vascular dysfunction and blood-brain barrier problems
  2. Glucose hypometabolism (insufficient glucose)
  3. Mitochondrial dysfunction, which leads to decreased energy production in the brain
  4. Free radical damage which, when combined with the other three mechanisms, creates a vicious circle

So can the ketogenic diet help address these mechanisms of disease progression?

Here are the latest insights.

Recent research has shown that following a ketogenic diet can increase cerebral blood flow and help repair the vascular damage that occurs in Alzheimer’s patients.

There is also evidence that the keto diet balances glucose hypometabolism by adding ketones as an alternative fuel source.

And a study of 23 adults with mild cognitive impairment, which may be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease, found that ketones improved memory and cognitive function in participants.

Finally, ketones and ketosis also work to improve mitochondrial function by adding more energy to the brain. As a result, they also reduce inflammation and free radical damage.

In conclusion, the keto diet appears to address the four known pathways that contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

To what extent it can stop or even reverse the progression of the disease remains to be explored..