A high-cholesterol diet may be linked to an increased risk of developing dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, according to new research.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo and the University at Buffalo studied people with high cholesterol who were found to have the disease in the state of New York.
They found that people who followed a high-protein, high-carbohydrate diet were much more likely to develop dementia, but also suffered from an increased number of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and Alzheimer, and also had a greater risk of dying from all causes.
Researchers from the university say the findings are important in that they highlight how low carbohydrate and protein intakes, along with other factors, can have a dramatic impact on health and longevity.
“A high-fat diet is the most important factor,” said professor Takashi Kondo, a member of the department of health science at the university.
“If you eat a lot of saturated fat, then your risk of heart disease is increased, and you have a higher risk of death from all cardiovascular diseases.”
Professor Kondo said the findings highlight how a low-carb diet can contribute to a long-term health problem.
“The impact of a low carbohydrate diet on the cardiovascular disease risk is quite substantial,” he said.
“You have a high carbohydrate diet with a high fat diet with lower fat, and that’s what we have observed.”
The researchers say that, like other factors that affect the risk of disease, the effects of the high-fiber diet, such as the ability to maintain a regular intake of fruits and vegetables, is one factor that should be taken into account.
“Low-fat and high-carbohydrate diets are very different, so it is important to look at all of them, including the effects on the risk,” Professor Kondo told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“It is very clear that high-glycemic index diets are associated with increased risk, whereas low-glycemia diets are not.”
Professor Takashi said that, even with the benefits of a high carb diet, a low fat one may still be better than no carbs at all.
“We don’t know that, but it is still important to have a low glycemic index diet, and to keep a healthy weight,” he added.
“As a matter of fact, there are some studies that show that when people get diabetes, they can lose weight if they have a moderate-carb or low-fat intake, and they may even be able to lose weight by maintaining their diet.”
Professor Hasegawa said the researchers found that there was no difference between the two diets, but the researchers did find that the people who ate the high protein diet had a slightly higher risk than those who ate a low carb diet.
“In general, the effect of a moderate protein diet on dementia risk seems to be not significant, and may be a result of the differences in the protein intake between the groups,” Professor Hasekawa said.