Dementia: The 'afternoon snack' that may increase your risk of Alzheimer's – study warning

Dementia is an umbrella term for symptoms associated with worsening brain decline. The main cause is Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterised by an abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but evidence increasingly points to risk factors.

They added: “This study highlights that refined carbohydrate-rich diets are a risk factor for dementia and AD in APOE-ε4 carriers.”

Why are refined carbs harmful?

Although the exact mechanisms that may lead to dementia are unclear, refined carbohydrates can negatively impact your body in a number of ways.

One way is through undermining insulin production.

Holland and Barrett explains: “All refined carbohydrates are made up of short chains of molecules, which are rapidly and easily converted to glucose in your body, causing a sudden blood sugar raise, or ‘spike’, soon after eating.

Refined carbohydrates include:

  • Sugar-sweetened foods such as cakes, biscuits, sweets and pastries
  • Fizzy drinks and some fruit juices and smoothies.
  • White pasta and white bread
  • White rice
  • Sweetened breakfast cereals, cereal bars and energy bars.

What you should eat to reduce your risk of dementia

According to the National Institute of Aging, the Mediterranean diet, the related MIND diet (which includes elements designed to lower blood pressure), and other healthy eating patterns have been associated with cognitive benefits in studies.

The Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.


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