The diet deemphasizes grain-based carbohydrates (with a few exceptions, such as quinoa). It recommends that we eliminate processed foods, fat-laden foods, and simple carbs such as refined flour and baked goods. The diet discourages foods that are high glycemic or sugar laden. If you aren't yet convinced that sugar is a harmful food, you will be by the time you finish this book.
Drs. Isaacson and Ochner also recommend a 12- to 14-hour nightly fast, which creates a condition known as dietary ketosis. That means allowing at least 12 hours without anything but water between your last meal at night and your first one in the morning. This is, in part, because the fasting body can't find carbs to burn for fuel, so the body resorts to burning a substance called ketone bodies, which is very protective for the brain—and particularly for people with AD or MCI.
The Alzheimer's Diet is extremely healthful, though, whether you have issues with brain and memory function or not. It will result in weight loss and replenishment of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, a formula that helps to fend off other diet-related conditions like obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
The book's end chapters, written for caregivers and health professionals, get into the nitty-gritty aspects of effective dietary modifications for patients with Alzheimer's disease.
What I appreciated about The Alzheimer's Diet was its upbeat, user-friendly approach to brain-healthy eating. The authors provide the science behind each recommendation, citing studies and explaining the biochemistry behind how substances in our food interact with our body to help or hinder important brain processes. It has just the right amount of science to be useful, but not so much that we feel overwhelmed.
In the emerging field of Alzheimer's nutrition, scientists can now point to evidence that certain foods harm the brain, and other foods help the brain. If making healthier food choices can keep my mind nimble, clear, and sharp into old age, then starting now is, well, a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned! Why wait?