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The 5:2 Lab

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Just watched a 2 minute clip from the questionable Dr Oz show with this chap as guest displaying his new book.
The gist is ALL carbs are bad, shrinking the brain and creating Alzeimers Disease. So all grains, all sugars are brain killers he said. This included fruit.
He also said embrace eating fats instead.
This appears to be what the paleo/primal eating communities have been advocating, so I'm wondering about the science and accuracy behind this as it also seems to fall in with things we have experienced too.
Any thoughts?
Maybe I shouldn't comment because I haven't seen the programme or read the book - but I'm always a bit wary of 'experts' who advocate things as extreme as cutting out whole food groups - what's wrong with a bit of moderation? I think most people would find life so miserable eating like that in the long term. I do think refined carbs are responsible for the obesity problems a lot of the world faces but I also think there are ways to improve health without being quite so radical.
I read about this brain on Dr Davis' Wheat Belly blog.

From his blog:

Particularly enlightening are his discussions about:

–Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, a protein that is subject to our control and can increase or decrease brain tissue and function.

–The link between statin drug use and impaired brain function–including a section entitled “How carbs – not cholesterol – cause high cholesterol.” Dr. Perlmutter is a neurologist, but understands lipids and lipoproteins better than 99.9% of cardiologists.

–The brain-protective power of ketogenesis–The ketone, beta hydroxybutyrate, in particular, that results from strict carb-restriction and reliance on fatty acid oxidation has potential to provide protection from dementia, as well as potentially enhance mind function and increase metabolic efficiency via stimulating activity and growth of energy-producing mitochondria.

–The brain-enhancing power of exercise–Via BDNF and hippocampal growth responsible for maintaining coordination and balance.

I've taken on this, and other things, to try to avoid dementia, as it seems most types are preventable.

One thing I guess I'm fortunate on is I've developed an allergy to wheat- it's been genetically modified to the point my body can't take it any more!
Interesting isnt it! I began 5:2 mainly in the hopes of avoiding diabetes/ stroke/ heart attack - and Alzheimers / dementia
So maybe we need to give up grains ... I am trying to cut down but it will be a slowish process for me..i couldnt go cold turkey and altho i tend to be an all or nothing person,the words everything in moderation is echoing thru my head...i DO think we should all be ditching the white sugar totally but i will go on eating fruit in small amounts - i believe fruits are a wonderful gift of nature for us to enjoy
Need to read more...thanks for pointing me in the right direction tho Lady Muck! X
I have really cut back. I didn't know about dementia, but all I know is that I feel alot better without them, because I was feeling quite arthritic before switching and now I don't as much, although this could be that I'm doing more exercise. I still have the occasional dip into something, but its rare and I always know about it the next day. I'm not a fan of heavy meat paleo stuff, but I have found a way of replacing the carbs with veggies mostly and increasing my fat intake. I have also been experimenting with coconut flour and ground almonds, which are both low carb. So I would say I'm probably paleo friendly, not completely paleo. Can't resist a nice rye soughdough though :wink:

Edit: but I ain't giving up my fruit. That is insane :frown:
I haven't read the book, but I saw the video of Dr. Perlmutter on Dr. Oz show last week. Here's the link:

In part 2 of the video, he talks about the types of food. He didn't completely ban all carbs though.. a little fruit is okay, carbs from "above ground" vegetables, blueberry and long grain/whole grain rice (this gave me a huge grin, yay rice!), and he emphasised the importance of fat (like butter).

It's something to consider, I suppose.
I started this book last night and I can't put it down. I'm only 20% of the way through it and already:

Gluten sensitivity (with or without coeliac), increases the production of inflammatory cytokines which are pivotal in neurodegenerative conditions (everything from headaches, migranes, depression, ADHD and dementia). Bottom line is that gluten sensitivity is not just a gut issue. One in ten of us may be gluten sensitive and even if you are not, it still might be having an impact on your brain as well as the rest of your body.

If you have diabetes, your risk of dementia dramatically increases. He claims a link between insulin resistance and plaque formation in the brain. He is calling Alzheimers the type 3 diabetes.

Its not just grains, but also carbs and sugar that also contribute. I'm anxiously looking forward to the cholesterol chapter, of which he is an advocate. He is promising the importance of LDL on brain function as opposed to oxidised LDL (which is created by glucose and therefore inflammatory to the brain).

So if we are soon to learn that carbs can kill our brains too, then we all need to pay attention given dementia is set to triple in the next 30 years. Given he is a neurologist and a nutritionist, I'm listening.

If anyone in the US has watched the 90 minute show this week, please let us know what you think. The link to when his show airs is here: ... erlmutter/ ... erlmutter/ ... our-brain/
Definitely 'food for thought!'. Please let us know any other nuggets of info you glean from this book Karen.
@carorees, you might want to move this to the Lab. Thanks :like:

Nuggets so far………

My words are probably crass summaries of numerous studies the author has utilized for his hypothesis. Lab rats, please feel free to add or clarify if I have misunderstood anything here. Much of this is not new to veterans on this site, but there are one or two surprises. You need a cup of tea to read this as there is quite a bit here for you to feast on (or even fast on).

Effects of grains, sugar and fat on the brain.
Gluten breaks down in the stomach to become a mix of polypeptides that can cross the blood brain barrier. Once they gain entry, they can bind to the brain’s morphine receptor to produce a sensorial high. These polypeptides are called exorphins. These can be stopped medically by opiate blocking drugs which are used to reverse the action of opiate drugs! So that is why when no exorphic yielding foods are consumed, you experience withdrawal symptoms. Carb cravings anyone? This is why the food industry like to pack things with gluten – you keep coming back for more……. The punchline being that gluten can change our biochemistry right down to our brains pleasure and addiction centre.

Wheat increases blood sugar more than table sugar (GI of 71 vs 68).

The brain is made almost entirely from fat and one fifth of it by weight is cholesterol.
People who regularly consume omega 3’s from olive, flaxseed and walnut oil were 60% less likely to develop dementia. Butter made no difference.
People who regularly ate omega 6 (safflower, corn, canola , sunflower, soybean, oils) were twice as likely to develop dementia as people who didn’t eat omega 6. Omega 3’s can counterbalance the effects of omega 6

Seafood great source of O3’s and red meat (but not if they are fed grains), hence the call for consuming grass fed beef and wild fish.

Lots on glucose and fructose which we have discussed at length already on the forums so will not repeat. Needless to say he is a Lustig fan.

High cholesterol is associated with better memory function.
Parkinson’s is strongly related to lower levels of cholesterol. Those with the lowest LDL were at increased risk of Parkinson’s by approx. 350%

On LDL. We need to do what we can to reduce the risk of LDL oxidation, NOT necessarily levels of LDL itself. The principal player in the risk of oxidation is higher levels of glucose. LDL will become oxidized in the presence of sugar molecules that will bind to it and change its shape, rendering it dysfunctional and unable to enter the astrocyte; the cell charged with nourishing neurons. Glycosylated proteins, which are the products of these reactions between proteins and sugar molecules, are associated with a 50 fold increase in free radical formation as compared to non-glycosylated proteins. Ergo LDL is not the enemy. The problem occurs when when a higher carb diet yields oxidized LDL and an increased risk of atherosclerosis.

Dutch study (Lancet) involving 724 average age 89 followed for 10 yrs. Each 39 point increase in total cholesterol corresponded to a 15% DECREASE in mortality risk and no difference in the risk of dying from coronary artery disease between the high v. low groups. People with the highest cholesterol were less likely to die from cancer and other infections common in older people.

Cholesterol produces testosterone – sex life anyone? Hold the Viagra, give up grains!

Depression and Cognitive Dysfunction (eg ADHD, schizophrenia, bi-polar, dementia etc etc)
Depression runs higher in people who have low cholesterol. Statins can exacerbate. Not clear whether this is the drug or the lowering of cholesterol.

Lots of statin bashing causing cognitive side effects and increased risk of diabetes.

Studies vary, but in a Swedish study, Coeliac patients had an 80% higher risk of depression, but up to 270% in one Italian Study. Hypothesis being that a damaged intestine is ineffective at absorbing essential nutrients, many of which keep the brain active, eg zinc, tryptophan and B vits (these are necessary for production of serotonin). So your intestinal brain makes more serotonin than the brain in your head. Other critical deficiency is vit D. Risk of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar also elevated.

I think a few here already know that Hemoglobin A1C is the true predictor of health status and effectively measures average blood sugar control over the previous 90 days. There is now evidence to show that elevated A1C is associated with changes in brain size. An ideal HbA1C according to him is 4.8 to 5.4. There is also documented evidence of a direct relationship between A1C and risk of depression.

Insulin resistance affects the brain and the only way to check insulin resistance is to have your fasting blood insulin level checked. People careful about their carbs might have insulin levels indicated as less than 2.0. Anything over 5.0 is considered elevated.

Glycation of proteins is also bad for the brain. Study showing a relationship between diabetes and cognitive decline due to lack of blood glucose control due to increased production of advanced glycation end products.

Study showing relationship between the brain’s structure and waist to hip ratio, ie the bigger the belly, the smaller the hippocampus (memory centre) and a higher risk for strokes.

Study. People who lose weight show massive improvements in insulin sensitivity, more so if through diet and exercise and therefore memory improvement.

BDNF (brain growth hormone), plays a key role in creating new neurons. The implication being that dementia symptoms can possibly be halted or even reversed with exercise, calorie restriction, IF (a whole chapter devoted to it), a ketogenic diet, omega 3 and curcumin.

Ketogenic fats eg MCT oils (coconut for example) has been shown to impart significant improvement in cognitive function. As well as the liver, the brain can also produce ketones via astrocytes are profoundly neuroprotective and decrease free radical production in the brain.

Calorie restriction can induce Nrf2 activation (a protein which opens the door for the production of antioxidants and detox enzymes). Nrf2 activators; fish oils, turmeric, green tea, milk thistle, DHA, sulforaphane and ashwagandha and coffee.

Inheriting gene APoE e4 allele does not mean that your dementia fate is sealed.

Fat is a hormonal organ
Fat is a hugely powerful hormonal organ with research correlating headaches to those with bigger waist sizes (and 30% more likely to suffer from migraines than those with less belly fat), and those who were morbidly obese had a 74% increased risk of a chronic daily headache or migraine. The bigger your belly, the more at risk you are for headaches.

Fat cells secrete an enormous amount of cytokines that trigger inflammatory pathways.

Next section is what to do (but I think we already know………..)
Blimey, can't wait to hear, I'm all ears! This is such a hard season to hear "no more grains" innit :0.
This is a highly truncated version of his Four Week Program. Today I will cover food and supplements, then move on to exercise (wk 2) and sleep (wk 3). Week four is about putting the whole lot together. He recommends getting your blood work done before you start, including something called a fructosamine test which gives an understanding of average blood sugar control over a two to three week period.

Supplements list (daily)
Alpha-lipoic acid 600mg
Coconut oil, 1 teaspoon
DHA 1000mg
Probiotics that contain at least 10b active cultures from at least 10 different strains including Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium.
Resveratrol 100mg twice a day
Turmeric 350g twice a day
Vit D3 5000 iu's

Do not eat:
ALL sources of gluten
ALL forms of processed carbs, sugar, starch, corn, yams, potato, sweet potato, chips, crackers, cookies, pastries, muffins, pizza, cakes, sugar snacks, energy bards, ice cream, frozen yogurt, jams, ketchup, chutney, cheese spreads, juices, dried fruit, sports drinks, soft drinks, fried foods, honey, agave, sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup.

Packaged foods labeled fat free or low fat. Margarine, veg shortening, cooking oils eg soy, corn, cottonseed, canola, peanut, safflower, grape, sunflower, rice bran, wheat germ.

Non fermented soy, eg tofu, soy milk. Anything with soy protein isolate, soy milk, yogurt, ice cream. Exception is tamari made with 100pct soy and no wheat.

Foods marketed gluten free (because they will have been replaced by ingredients that will raise blood sugar).

Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, sesame, coconut, grass fed tallow and organic or pasture fed butter, ghee. Almond milk, avocado, coconuts, olives, nuts and nut butters, cheese (except blue) and seeds, eg flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia.

Herbs and seasonings, but watch labels. You can have mustard, horseradish, tapenade, mayo and salsa if they are free of gluten, wheat, soy and sugar.

Low sugar fruit: avocado, bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, eggplant, lemons, limes.

Protein. Eggs (he loves eggs), wild fish, shellfish, grass fed meat, fowl, poultry, wild game.

Veg. Leafy greens and lettuces, collards, spinach, broccoli, kale, chard, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, sprouts, sauerkraut, artichoke, alfalfa, green beans, celery, bok choi, radishes, watercress, turnip, asparagus, garlic, leek, fennel, shallots, scallions, ginger, jicama, parsley, water chestnuts.

In moderation (couple of times a week)
Carrots, parsnips, cottage cheese, yogurt, kefir, cows milk and cream, legumes, eg beans, peas, lentils. Hummus (chickpeas) is an exception.
Non gluten grains, amaranth, buckwheat, rice, millet, quinoa, sorghum, teff and oats provided they have been prepared in a gluten free environment.
Stevia and chocolate (70%). Whole sweet fruit. Berries are best. Be cautious of sugary fruits eg apricots, mangos, melons, papaya, prunes, banana, pineapple.
Wine. One glass a day, preferably red.

He recommends fasting the day before you start. His fasting protocol is a 24 hour zero calorie fast and states what we already know in that low carbers can fast more easily.

He recommends you go cold turkey when nixing gluten.

For the first four weeks he advocates 30 to 40g of carbs a day. :shock: After that you can increase to 60g a day, but still gluten free. Sample menu plan. ... mutter.pdf

He makes a point that some foods can cross react with gluten, so if you are still getting symptoms after giving up gluten, I found this helpful ... th-gluten/
I won't give up carbs or sugar. Cut back, yes, but not give up. I won't embrace fat either. For years and years I heard you shouldn't eat eggs or avocados because it was too fat. Now it's good for us because it's food fat. The truths seem to change a lot and anyway I want to keep the pleasure in my life. Eating should be a pleasure not a chore and not something you need to think hard about. That's why I couldn't be on a proper diet.

That being said, it doesn't mean I haven't a sensible diet, I learned about that since I began 5:2 but I won't give up anything.

Also dementia and Alzheimer are part in the genes, how do they deal with that part of the question ?
I have read the book and it frightened me. My father died from dementia related problems and I do not want to go there! I gave up refined carbs a while back, but since I read the book I have given up sugar, bread and grain products too and added some of the supplements he suggested. I have noticed that my weight is shifting quickly this week (only gave up all grains last week) and I feel even better, but I don't sleep as well.....posted somewhere else on this one (paleo thread and rats spring to mind!).
I had thought about starting a thread on 'Grain Brain' so pleased it's here.
Thanks @rawkaren appreciate your feedback from the book. It's pretty hard core diet to follow. I can understand though having wheat gluten gut issues and feeling so good on fast says when I have no wheat / gluten. Makes sense ... Will have to reread to digest it all. So I presume the book is worth getting
Manderley wrote: I won't give up carbs or sugar. Cut back, yes, but not give up. I won't embrace fat either. For years and years I heard you shouldn't eat eggs or avocados because it was too fat. Now it's good for us because it's food fat. The truths seem to change a lot and anyway I want to keep the pleasure in my life. Eating should be a pleasure not a chore and not something you need to think hard about. That's why I couldn't be on a proper diet.

That being said, it doesn't mean I haven't a sensible diet, I learned about that since I began 5:2 but I won't give up anything.

Also dementia and Alzheimer are part in the genes, how do they deal with that part of the question ?

It frightened me too @Auriga. I think we will look back in years to come and realise what we have done.

@Manderley. There is a gene called APoE e4 allele, which is not very common, ie not everyone who has dementia carries this gene. The book says that having it does not mean that your dementia fate is sealed. In studies they have seen radical improvements in people who carry the gene by giving up gluten.
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