How much do you value your sweets and your breads? Hopefully not more than remembering your children! Unfortunately, this may be the ultimatum for some of us.
Our average blood sugar levels (for the last couple months) are determined by the Hemoglobin (Hb) A1C test. People with Diabetes have a HbA1C score of 6.5 or higher. It has been well established that diabetics are much more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. But what about pre-diabetes? What are the ideal HbA1C levels?
A couple of recent studies have shed some light on this topic. One study showed a clear correlation between greater brain shrinkage (which strongly correlates with Alzheimer's) and higher HbA1C levels, even when focused only on non-diabetic patients1. Another study showed that cognitive testing scores got worse as HbA1C levels increased, even when focused only on non-diabetic patients2.
So how do we lower our HbA1C levels to keep our brain large and in charge? Cut out the refined carbohydrates (such as bread, soda, and candy) and replace them with proteins (beans, lean grass fed meat, wild caught fish) and vegetables (more vegetables than proteins).
Getting a HbA1C Test is relatively inexpensive, your doctor should be able to order you one for under $50, and knowing where you stand regarding your average blood sugar levels will be very meaningful.
When it comes to nutrition, ensuring you have a low HbA1C score is very important. 5.7-6.5 is considered pre-diabetic, thus, having a score below 5.7 is ideal. Below 5.0 and you may be at risk for hypoglycemia. A perfect score would be 5.2-5.4.
As always remember to ask yourself, what is the greatest opportunity for the improvement of your brain? How do you best make that change?
Enzinger et al. Risk factors for progression of brain atrophy in aging: six-year follow-up of normal subjects. Neurology. 2005 May 24;64(10):1704-11.
Ravona-Springer et al. Changes in glycemic control are associated with changes in cognition in non-diabetic elderly. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;30(2):299-309. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-120106.