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The Price of Processed Carbs & Sugar on the Brain

Authored by: Martin Johnson, DHM, Owner and Natural Health Consultant

Processed grains and sugar prove problematic for the brain among other important body systems due to their effects on spiking insulin levels.

The brain actually makes insulin. Any excess circulating insulin in our system can be damaging to the brain. So Insulin Degradation Enzyme (IDE) clears it out, but, if insulin levels are constantly high then it neglects to remove dangerous plaques in the brain. Plaques can build up leading to Dementia, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's, or what is now called Type 3 diabetes.

Insulin Degradation Enzyme (IDE) does 2 things, but only one or the other.

  1. Break down insulin and clear it from the brain.
  2. Break down amyloid plaque deposits in the brain.

High blood sugar usually accompanies high insulin levels when one is insulin resistant. The hormone, insulin helps control the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. With insulin resistance, the body’s cells don’t respond normally to insulin. Glucose cannot enter the cells as easily, so it builds up in the blood. This can eventually lead to Type II diabetes.

High blood sugar also can damage the brain in 2 ways:

  1. Free radical production. Glucose metabolism produces an estimated 6-50 times as many free radicals as fat metabolism. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells, cause inflammation, lead to illness, more rapid aging, and increased brain plaque formation, as well as pancreatic plaque.
  1. High blood sugar and high insulin swings the glucose levels up and then drops blood sugar down. The low after every high drop brain energy and lowers our blood-brain barrier defenses which allow toxins into the brain that would not otherwise get in. Drops in brain energy also promote excitotoxic brain cell damage and potential brain cell death.


Every day we are learning more about how processed carbs, sugar intake, grains, processed oils, high insulin, and food toxins literally destroy our brain and our health.

It is not about going paleo, low carb, keto, or all-natural, it is about going low insulin and the rest falls in line. Will going "paleo", or "keto" with low carb, and eating whole foods (all-natural) help in this insulin reduction concept? Absolutely, but there is a lot more to it. 

Eating junk, day in and day out, even in the infamous "moderation" levels, is enough to do damage. It is critical to address imbalances that occur over time, such as the above-mentioned cellular inflammation, organ imbalance, and nutritional deficiencies. They are all potential root causes of insulin resistance.

Visit this link to see a video discussing the implications of cellular inflammation on your overall health: 

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If you would like to discuss how to turn the direction of your health in a more positive direction, call or email us to set up a no-charge phone consultation with one of the practitioners at Total Health Nutrition Center. 262-251-2929

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