Poisoned minds

I know I’m always telling you to start watching your blood sugar long before it creeps up into diabetic territory. And if I sound like a broken record today, so be it.

Some points bear repeating. And this is one of them—because new research is showing yet again that there’s an incredible amount at stake.

A recent study showed that higher blood sugar significantly raises risk of dementia. Even when these blood sugar levels fell into what most doctors would consider normal ranges.

This is pretty scary stuff. We’ve known for some time that diabetes is a risk factor for dementia. But the research on higher, non-diabetic glucose levels has always been unclear.

Until now, that is. In this study, even subjects without diabetes faced an 18 percent higher risk of dementia. All it took was glucose levels that averaged a mere five points higher over a five-year period (115 mg/dL versus 100 mg/dL).

And of course, this danger was even more prominent among subjects with diabetes. Diabetic subjects with glucose levels at 190 mg/dL faced a 40 percent higher risk of dementia than those with levels at 160 mg/dL.

This data makes it pretty clear that high blood sugar levels pose serious risks to the aging brain under any circumstances. And with our population getting older by the second, dealing with our sky-high diabetes and obesity rates should be priority No.1.

So I guess the biggest question running through my mind is this: Will the proverbial cat ever be let out of the bag where sugar is concerned?

It’s easily the most prominent poison in our culture. Not only do we consume it on a daily basis, we consume it with gusto. It doesn’t matter how many studies show that it can destroy your health in a million different ways.

People continue to worship at sugar’s altar. They just don’t want to live without it.

Look, I’m not saying you have to abstain totally—though that would certainly be ideal. I just don’t want anyone kidding themselves about how insidious its influence actually is.

Frankly, it’s way past time sugar—and corn syrup in particular—was held accountable for all of the damage that it does. Because as a society, we clearly aren’t getting the message.

Something has to be done. And while Americans still aren’t keen on regulating access to sugar, there’s no question that our government should at least stop subsidizing it.

Will this solve the problem? Probably not. But if fewer people and can afford to slowly kill themselves with corn syrup, that can only be a good thing.


“Glucose levels and risk of dementia.” N Engl J Med. 2013 Aug 8;369(6):540-8.