A recent study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has shown that there is a strong relationship between the consumption of heat processed meat based foods and the onset of both brain changes, like Alzheimers disease, and a pre-diabetes condition.
The research done by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, found that increasing the consumption of these foods, increase the amount of Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs) in the blood, which results in the suppression of a vital defence against both
Alzheimer’s disease and the pre-diabetic state called metabolic syndrome. This defence is called SIRT1, and in mice it was found that in high levels, it helps protects us from the onset of these diseases and conditions.
Many people may not realise but there is a strong co-relation between someone having diabetes and later developing Alzheimers Disease. So anything that reduces the likelihood of diabetes onset will further reduce the possible development of Alzheimers.
Dr Helen Vlassara, MD, Professor and Director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging in the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai said; “Age-associated dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is currently epidemic in our society and is closely linked to diabetes. While more research needs to be done to discover the exact connection of food AGEs to metabolic and neurological disorders, the new findings again emphasise the importance of not just what we eat, but also how we prepare what we eat. By cutting AGEs, we bolster the body’s own natural defense against Alzheimer’s disease as well as diabetes.”
Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK said; “Diabetes has previously been linked to an increased risk of dementia, and this small study provides some new insight into some of the possible molecular processes that may link the two conditions. Although these findings add to some earlier evidence linking a decrease in SIRT1 protein to Alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia, it’s important to note that the people in this study did not have dementia. This subject has so far not been well-studied in people, and we don’t yet know whether the amount of AGEs in our diet might affect our risk of dementia. The diseases that cause dementia are complex, and our risk of the condition is likely to be affected by a number of genetic and environmental factors that are not yet fully understood.”
So does this mean that a vegetarian diet is what we should all be following? Or does it suggest that we should all be followers of the raw food movement?
The study was done on mice and also a small group of people who did not currently have dementia. It is simply too early to state conclusively if either of these diets choices are where we should all be.
More study needs to be done in this area, before anyone can come close to stating one way or another whether the Western diet should be abandoned. The interesting thing about this is whether people in the west would ever be able to completely and totally give up their cooked meat products, even if it is found eventually that this food may be causing them health issues.
I know of people who have said when they found out that I am a vegetarian, “how could you give up meat?, I could never do that.”
Until the final studies are done and the results are in conclusively, the best option for us all to remain healthy is a little bit of everything in moderation.
Written by Rachelle Williams – the Green Food Safety Coach