I’ve written about processed foods…especially processed sugar…and their impact on immune function. Sugar is poison to immune cells. It depresses white blood cell activity. It can displace uptake of other nutrients in the body.
Of course, sugar and other empty simple carbs that act in the body as sugar does are primary ingredients in many packaged foods. Sugar, fillers, starches, gums, etc. are all enemies of healthy nutrient absorption and cell function.
Now, in today’s New York Times, food and nutrition columnist Mark Bittman writes about a newly defined phenomenon buttressed by processed sugar and processed foods: Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, Alzheimer’s now labeled as “Type 3 Diabetes.”
Bittman explains that the huge increase in processed food consumption we’ve seen over the past couple of decades may very well be leading to similar physiological developments in the brain that are seen in diabetics. Insulin resistance in the brain caused by a flood of sugar and empty carbs appears to spur formation of brain “plaque” and alters neuron function, causing memory loss and impaired cognitive function. Alzheimer’s is the new diabetes of our generation, and if trends emerge similar to that of the diabetes epidemic we’re experiencing, there’s gonna be a whole new population of brain-impaired people taxing our health care system and pushing it to the brink.
On top of that, my guess is that such impaired brain function may also directly affect immune function, as the brain and the immunity engine housed in the gut are closely interconnected.