Diabetes Diet

A Diabetic Brain is a Grain Brain

David Perlmutter’s 2013 book Grain Brain has a prominent place in my diabetes bookshelf. Grain Brain is one of the important books ever. This book that the renowned brain specialist wrote two years ago holds a prominent place on my diabetes bookshelf.

Re-reading it recently reminded me how closely connected that our brain health is to excellent care and treatment of diabetes. The book is about how wheat, carbs, and sugar are destroying our brains. This connection with diabetes is far too close for comfort. These are the same things that raise our blood glucose the most.

grain brain cover

The higher the A1C level we have, the greater is our risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the most dreaded form of dementia. As I wrote here last month at “High Blood Glucose Can Lead to Dementia,” people with type 2 diabetes who had A1C levels of 10.5 percent or higher are 50 percent more likely to get a diagnosis of dementia than those with levels of 6.5 percent or less. In fact, one M.D., Suzanne M. de la Monte, has named Alzheimer’s disease as “Type 3 Diabetes.”

Dr. Perlmutter’s book reached No. 1 on the New York Times “Best Seller List” of food and fitness books last year and is still selling well. For good reason. Grain Brain has an important message for all of us — most particularly for those of us who have diabetes — and Dr. Perlmutter tells it well.

The Case Against Carbs

Dr. Perlmutter’s book builds not only on the experience of patients in his practice but also on published scientific findings that are slowly building the case against sugar, the so-called healthy grains, and the high-carb diet that our medical establishment has been preached to us on the basis of the most flimsy evidence. Ever since 1975 when William Dufty wrote Sugar Blues, we have known some of the dangers of sugar, particularly fructose, amply demonstrated by Robert Lustig, M.D.,in “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.”

William Davis, M.D., showed in his recent book Wheat Belly three excellent reasons for us to avoid eating any wheat. And Gary Taubes made the comprehensive and persuasive case for us to follow a very low-carb diet in his 2007 book, Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Focus on Fats

Now, Dr. Perlmutter pulls it all together in his book. It is a tour de force that is already saving many lives.

“The best diet focuses on good fats,” he told “Baking Business” what they clearly didn’t want to hear but reported anyway. “There are certainly plenty of bad fats out there — hydrogenated fats and trans fats — and I am surely not referring to them. Good fats from eating olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, fish, grass fed beef, goat cheese, and fish oils are fundamentals for health, while carb-derived calories as one might get from things like bread, pasta, potatoes, below-ground vegetables, fruit and fruit juices are really things that you want to do your very best to avoid for a brain-healthy diet.”

As I read this important and well-written book I found myself nodding my head vigorously in agreement at practically every page. Grain Brain gives us what we need to know to be well again. Please read – or re-read — it.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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  • ana at

    It continues to be maddening to read that the “Mediterranean diet” is the healthiest…their focus is on whole foods, but also beans, fruits and grains. Study after study seems to imply reduction of diabetes, but no one differentiates pre-diabetics, diabetics, and “normal” responders and how a Med. diet would affect them.