Could Too Much Fast-food Lead To Alzheimer’s Disease?

Imagine sitting down to dinner with family and friends to enjoy a nice, healthy meal. Now snap back to reality and think of how busy your life is and how often you decide to go out to eat. In today’s society eating seems to be more like a distraction, interrupting people from their fast-paced lives. As a result, people are looking for the quickest options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, by eating out too often people are developing unhealthy eating habits. At times these eating habits might exceed what is optimal leading to obesity.

You may be thinking “ok yeah I gained a few pounds but what’s the problem with that?”. One of the main problems is the rise in the number of cases of type 2 diabetes caused by obesity. In fact the number of cases of diabetes is rising at an alarming rate worldwide. According to WebMD Health news the number of people diagnosed this diabetes has double to a reported 350 million cases since 1980. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body produces insulin, but either not enough insulin is produced or the body does not properly use the insulin which is produced. This is called insulin resistance. Since the purpose of insulin is to transport glucose (sugar) into the body’s cells to use as energy, a result of insulin resistance is too high of glucose levels in the blood and not enough sugar in the cells. Therefore, your body is basically starving.  Although type 2 diabetes has been around awhile, new research has hinted at a link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

The key link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease appears to be the affects of insulin resistance in the brain. According to the article discusses in class, insulin acts through a series of important processes to regulate neuron survival, aging, as well as memory and learning. However, when people have type 2 diabetes insulin found in the brain may not properly regulate these important biological processes. This can lead to improper regulation of the biological processes resulting in overproduction of beta-amyloid and tau proteins.  When beta-amyloid protein builds up forming plaques, the brain is more susceptible to oxidative stress which can result in the death of brain cells. Likewise, if too many tau proteins are constructed they begin to bunch up causing a deficiency of nutrient transport in the brain and therefore the death of brain cells. So what can be done to help fix this situation?

The best way to help with this situation is to try and avoid developing type 2 diabetes by eating healthy and working out regularly. Eating healthy and working out will help fight off obesity and therefore type 2 diabetes. However, as stated in the introduction everyone is very busy and working out regularly may not be possible. This raises other, broader questions about American society and its eating behavior like, “Should it be the government’s responsibility to step in and regulate the food industry to force the general public to eat healthier?” and “If the link between Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes is true, what actions should be taken to help children and young adults who are developing type 2 diabetes at younger ages than normal?”.

Although, it is extremely unlike that everyone who eats out will develop unhealthy will develop type 2 diabetes and therefore Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to be aware of the possible implications your everyday decision may be having on you, your body, and possibly American society as a whole.