An insightful article “This is Your Brain on Gluten,” ran in The Atlantic late last month. The piece analyzes the effect gluten may have on the brain – even those “good for you” whole-grains. Board-certified neurologist and American College of Nutrition fellow Dr. David Perlmutter believes gluten may play a role in inflammatory diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. His theory is based on the concept that grains have a relatively high glycemic index, causing blood sugar levels to surge, which is in turn damaging to the brain. Although a gluten-free diet has not been proven effective in the prevention of these diseases, it may help reduce one’s risk. Gluten is also theorized to play a role in conditions such as ADHD and epilepsy. Studies are ongoing, but following a low carbohydrate and gluten-free diet may help reduce one’s risk for inflammatory diseases.
The take away – eating a variety of foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, while limiting processed foods and alcohol has been proven to help reduce one’s risk for disease and weight gain. This article is certainly worth a second look.