A new study out in JAMA Neurology has found that a diet high in saturated fat may increase a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The effect occurs because the fat intake makes the body less adept at manufacturing a chemical called apolipoprotein E (ApoE). ApoE plays an important interference role in the Alzheimer’s brain: it gets rid of amyloid beta protein. When amyloid beta is left hanging around the brain, it’s able to form the signature “plaques” that are seen in the Alzheimer’s brain. These plaques interfere with brain cell function and lead to cognitive decline. Ergo, less ApoE may mean a quicker road to plaques in the brain.
One of the researchers noted, “People who received a high-saturated-fat, high-sugar diet showed a change in their ApoE, such that the ApoE would be less able to help clear the amyloid.”
It’s important to note that this was a pretty small study, with only 47 participants, so more research will have to be done to show a conclusive link. Still, it’s worth noting that a preliminary link between
Alzheimer’s risk and its relation to dietary sugar and saturated fat.