The New York Times profiled a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that connects high blood sugar to dementia. Researchers looked at the blood glucose levels of more than 2,000 people who were part of a nonprofit HMO, following them for an average of seven years. The majority of patients had not received a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, and none of them were living with dementia when the study began.
During the course of the study, nearly 25 percent of the subjects developed some sort of dementia, with Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia being the most common. Whether or not patients had been diagnosed with diabetes, researchers found that those who experienced cognitive issues were at a greater likelihood of increasing blood glucose levels. However, those who had lower levels of blood sugar saw decreased dementia risks.
Dr. Medha Munshi, a doctor at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, told the news source that this latest research "offers more evidence that the brain is a target organ for damage by high blood sugar."
While there needs to be more research done to further investigate the link between these two health issues, it doesn't hurt seniors to find ways to satisfy their sweet cravings without consuming too much sugar. For example, the recipe below, adapted from All Recipes, features delicious sugar-free dark chocolate and savory treats for a true taste sensation.
Sugar-Free Chocolate Bark
1/2 cup of mini pretzels, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup of rippled potato chips, broken into small pieces
1/3 cup of coarsely chopped salted peanuts
1 2/3 cups of sugar-free dark chocolate chips
In a small bowl, combine the pretzels, chips and peanuts. In a second bowl, place the chocolate chunks and put them in the microwave on high for 45 seconds until just melted. Stir in half of the peanut-pretzel-chip mixture, then pour onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Sprinkle this with the rest of the peanuts, chips and pretzels, then tap the sheet a few times to make sure everything settles well. Place this into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until firm, then cut it up into chunks and serve it to your friends!