Type 3 Diabetes… there’s another one?

Many of know someone who has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, whether it’s a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or even all three. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), diabetes (specifically type 2) is has been declared as US health epidemic. Today, more than 29 million Americans are living with type 2 diabetes. Yikes!

As grave as that number is, there is another diabetes on the rise: Alzheimer’s disease AKA Type 3 Diabetes. While Alzheimer’s disease is not new itself, referring to it as Type 3 diabetes is. What do these three types of diabetes all have in common? The answer is the resistance to insulin.

Insulin resistance is a key factor in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In a normally functioning body, insulin is produced by the pancreas to help the body use glucose (sugar) in the blood. When you have a perfect balance of insulin and glucose, the body functions as it should. Type 3 diabetes results from an insulin resistance in the brain.  Insulin is a crucial component for cognition, memory, and overall brain heath.  If the insulin mechanism goes wrong, the result can be symptoms such as memory loss and confusion. The same symptoms we see in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Diet plays a significant role in both the prevention and maintenance of diabetes, including type 3.  The MIND diet, combines the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet to create the ultimate brain health diet. The MIND diet emphasizes the intake of fresh fruit, vegetables, and legumes and includes recommendations for specific foods, like leafy greens and berries. Recent research has shown that the MIND diet is more effective at reducing cognitive decline than either the Mediterranean or DASH diets alone. Check out the guidelines below to see what foods to eat and what foods to avoid following the MIND Diet:

Foods to Eat on the MIND Diet

  • Green leafy vegetables: a minimum of 6 servings a week
  • Nuts: a minimum of 5 servings a week
  • Berries: a minimum of 2 servings a week
  • Beans: a minimum of 3 servings a week
  • Whole grains: a minimum of 3 servings a day
  • Fish: at least 1 serving a week
  • Poultry (like chicken or turkey): at least twice a week
  • Olive oil as the primary oil used
  • Wine: no more than 1 glass a day

Foods to Limit on the MIND Diet

  • Red meat: no more than 4 servings a week
  • Butter and margarine: no more than 1 tablespoon (tbsp) daily
  • Cheese: no more than 1 serving a week
  • Sweets: no more than 5 servings a week
  • Fried or fast food: no more than 1 serving a week

What are your thoughts on Alzheimer’s disease being considered “type 3 diabetes?”

Feel free to comment below!



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