Friday, March 7, 2014

Debunking the Grain Brain Diet — A Diet that Promotes Eating Lots of Fat and Meat

I heard of the recent best-seller diet book called Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, neurologist and president of the Perlmutter Health Center in Naples, Fla.

What Grain Is Doing To Your Brain

"all carbs, including highly touted whole grains, are devastating to our brains. He claims we must make major changes in our eating habits as a society to ward off terrifying increases in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia rates.

And yet Perlmutter argues that his recommendations are not radical at all. In fact, he says, his suggested menu adheres more closely to the way mankind has eaten for most of human history.

What’s deviant, he insists, is our modern diet. Dementia, chronic headaches, depression, epilepsy and other contemporary scourges are not in our genes, he claims. “It’s in the food you eat,”

"Perlmutter says we need to return to the eating habits of early man, a diet generally thought to be about 75% fat and 5% carbs. The average U.S. diet today features about 60% carbs and 20% fat."

"Human genes, he says, have evolved over thousands of years to accommodate a high-fat, low-carb diet. But today we feed our bodies almost the opposite, with seemingly major effects on our brains. A Mayo Clinic study published earlier this year in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that people 70 and older with a high-carbohydrate diet face a risk of developing mild cognitive impairment 3.6 times higher than those who follow low-carb regimens. Those with the diets highest in sugar did not fare much better. However, subjects with the diets highest in fat were 42% less likely to face cognitive impairment than the participants whose diets were lowest in fat."

Here are my thoughts on the diet—

I checked out articles about the Grain Brain book and found the book to be quite biased with much fallacies about diet. I think the author suggested his diet of high fat and low carbs because the brain that is made up of 60% fat is more vulnerable to glycation damage on proteins(including blood veins) due to high blood glucose(from consuming high GI carbs) compared to other parts of the body that have more protein percentage to shield against glycation's protein damage.(view footnotes about glycation)

I also think that the earliest human species had to binge on fat because it was the most convenient source of calories because fat has 9 calories per gram compared to carb's and protein's 4 calories per gram. And they didn't know when their next meal would be coming so they had to binge efficient calories(from fat) as much as possible. Fat was also needed to keep bodies warm during cold winters.

So I don't think modern humans have to necessarily follow the eating habits of ancient humans. Modern people now have the luxury of eating more healthy foods and less of a need to binge on high calorie fat, and also are able to obtain good heating during cold winters so there is less of the need to require fat to keep the body warm.

Much modern advances in acquiring food and heating means that the human species can more easily adopt a vegan lifestyle in modern times compared to the past.

I feel that the author has committed the fallacy of thinking that the ancient diet is most natural and that modern man has to follow it. There is also the fallacy of thinking that carbs has to be drastically reduced just because the brain is more vulnerable to glycation's protein damage compared to other parts of the body.

Footnotes on Glycation

(Elle Magazine) Sugar and Aging: How to Fight Glycation
The relationship between sugar and fine lines can be sticky. Find out why!

"The science is this: When you have sugar molecules in your system, they bombard the body's cells like a meteor ­shower—glomming onto fats and proteins in a process known as glycation. This forms advanced glycation end products (commonly shortened, appropriately, to AGEs), which cause protein fibers to become stiff and malformed."

"The proteins in skin most prone to glycation are the same ones that make a youthful complexion so plump and springy—collagen and elastin. When those proteins hook up with renegade sugars, they become discolored, weak, and less supple; this shows up on the skin's surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance. The presence of AGEs also makes the complexion more vulnerable to bad-news assailants such as UV light and cigarette smoke. As New York–based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD, puts it: "Number one, the glucose makes the cells abnormal; and number two, it creates free radicals. So you get a double whammy when it comes to aging."

"The external signs of glycation show up around the age of 30 or 35, when a perfect storm of built-up sun damage, environmental oxidative stress, hormonal changes, and the development of AGEs begins to result in, well, a-g-e. "When you're younger, your body has more resources to ward off damage, and you're producing more collagen," says New York– and Miami-based dermatologist Fredric Brandt, MD, who in 2007 was one of the first to launch an anti-aging skin-care line specifically addressing glycation. "When you reach a certain age, these sugar by-products begin to build up at the same time that your threshold for damage is getting lower."

Higher glucose levels associated with lower memory and reduced hippocampal microstructure
"Conclusions: Our results indicate that even in the absence of manifest type 2 diabetes mellitus or impaired glucose tolerance, chronically higher blood glucose levels exert a negative influence on cognition, possibly mediated by structural changes in learning-relevant brain areas."

Protecting Against Glycation and High Blood Sugar with Benfotiamine

Glycation and the Skin

Insulin and Its Metabolic Effects(2001)
"Everyone knows that oxygen causes damage, but unfortunately the press has not been as kind to publicize glycation. Glycation is the same as oxidation except substitute the word glucose. When you glycate something you combine it with glucose. Glucose combines with anything else really; it's a very sticky molecule.

Just take sugar on your fingers. It's very sticky. It sticks specifically to proteins. So the glycation of proteins is extremely important. If it sticks around a while it produces what are called advanced glycated end products (A.G.E.s).

That acronym is not an accident. If you can turn over, or re-manufacture, the protein that's good, and it increases the rate of protein turnover if you are lucky. Glycation damages the protein to the extent that white blood cells will come around and gobble it up and get rid of it, so then you have to produce more, putting more of a strain on your ability to repair and maintain your body.

That is the best alternative; the worst alternative is when those proteins get glycated that can't turn over very rapidly, like collagen, or like a protein that makes up nerve tissue. These proteins cannot be gotten rid of, so the protein accumulates, and the A.G.E.s accumulate and continue to damage.

That includes the collagen that makes up the matrix of your arteries. A.G.E.s are so bad that we know that there are receptors for A.G.E.s, hundreds of receptors, for every macrophage."