I talk a lot about weight. But I always like to remind you that obesity isn’t the only consequence of a poor diet—or even the scariest, seeing as how it’s actually reversible.
But do you know one consequence that’s not reversible? Age-related macular degeneration—or AMD, for short.
That’s the takeaway of one recent study, at least. And considering the fact that AMD is a leading cause of vision loss—one that affects nearly two million people in the U.S. alone—I’d say it’s worth paying attention to.
The SAD truth behind AMD
Researchers at the University of Buffalo looked at rates of both early and late AMD among subjects in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study over the course of nearly two decades.
The researchers separated subjects into two dietary patterns: Western and “prudent.”
A Western diet mimicked your typical Standard American Diet (SAD)—with an emphasis on processed meat, fried food, and refined grains. (In other words, junk food.) While “prudent” diets had a stronger focus on lean protein, fish, and fresh produce.
And wouldn’t you know? People who ate a lot of junk food were three times more likely to wind up with late-stage AMD a good 18 years down the line. And this was the case whether subjects started with no AMD, or early AMD.
I should also note that early AMD is usually asymptomatic—a doctor would have to look at a photo of your retina to identify it. But here’s the thing: Not everyone with early AMD goes on to experience the symptoms (including vision loss) that accompany late-stage AMD.
And this research provides pretty solid evidence that your diet may be what determines your fate. So unless you’re fine with losing your central vision—not to mention your ability to drive or perform other common, independent activities—the conclusion here is clear: You need to start taking action today.
How to eat for better eyesight
Needless to say, this isn’t the first time research has pointed to better nutrition as a foil for AMD.
Most famously, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that a specific combination of antioxidants and minerals—among them, vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper—was able to reduce the risk of advanced AMD development by 25 percent over a period of five years. A follow-up study, AREDS 2, found similar benefits from lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation.
And that’s just for starters. Daily dietary choices also make a big difference—in this case, you’ll want to increase omega-3 and antioxidant intake with ample servings of fatty fish and leafy greens.
But what you don’t eat also matters. And that list, as always, should include sugar in all its forms.
Not surprisingly, research shows that eating diets high in carbohydrates (and, of course, sugars) significantly increases your AMD risk. Not least of all because they ramp up the accumulation of advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs. (These are the toxic byproducts that are formed when protein meets with sugar in your body—and they’re implicated in a whole host of age-related diseases, including AMD.)
There’s even research showing that your microbiome could play a role—and that changes in gut bacteria with both aging and diet may be at least partially responsible for the biological mechanisms that fuel AMD.
The fact is, there’s a lot you can do to ward off blindness—due to AMD or any other chronic condition. And you’ll find all these strategies in my Ageless Vision Protocol—a no-prescription plan to prevent eye disease, stop vision loss, and enjoy crystal clear eyesight for life.
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“Poor diet linked to age-related macular degeneration.” Science Daily, 12/11/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191211115627.htm)