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Dr. Oz features Grain Brain low carb diet for Alzheimer's and weight loss

Diane Keaton talks about her bulimia battle.
Diane Keaton talks about her bulimia battle.Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images

With a successful career and ageless beauty, 68-year-old Diane Keaton appears to have it all. But she told Dr. Mehmet Oz on his July 30 talk show that she secretly battled with bulimia for years. Plus: Learn how a ketogenic high fat low carb diet can help with preventing Alzheimer's disease as well as weight loss.

Diane says that she feels she was a secret addict. Consuming food and purging became her method of surviving the stress that she experienced. Now, however, Diane has learned to focus on the joys of life, which includes her teenagers.

Asked to define beauty, Diane contends that it has more to do with emotions. She believes that she has stayed young by focusing on her children's interests, such as music. But based on the latest statistics from the Alzheimer's Association, Diane is at risk for developing Alzheimer's.

The association reports that one in six women develop Alzheimer's disease between ages 60 to 69. Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops the condition. Dr. David Perlmutter hopes to change those statistics through the dietary approach detailed in his book "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers."

Joining Dr. Oz to discuss the "Grain Brain" lifestyle, Dr. Perlmutter explained that he began his exploration of the link between gluten and the brain in his own practice. Patients who suffered from muscle spasms experienced relief when they followed a gluten-free diet. Other benefits of the diet include weight loss, reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease and even help with conditions such as migraine headaches.

"Butter is back," proclaimed Dr. Perlmutter. He recommends eating more fats and fewer carbohydrates. Among the foods prescribed on the "Grain Brain" low carb diet are avocado, eggs, coconut oil, olive oil, cheese, grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish.

The amount of carbohydrates can vary, but be careful to avoid foods containing gluten. For those who want to succeed at weight loss, calculating a lower number of carbohydrates, more fats and moderate protein can result in nutritional ketosis, which has been shown to accelerate fat-burning.

The newest research on weight loss supports Dr. Perlmutter's recommendations. "Something about eating a low-carb diet causes people to burn more calories, in ways we don’t yet understand,” said Dr. Steve Smith, scientific director for the Florida Hospital-Sanford Burnham Translational Research Institute, in a July 28 interview with the Sentinel.

"If we can increase thermogenesis, or the body’s ability to burn calories and stored fat, we could stave off obesity and its many related ills," he added. And he agrees with Dr. Perlmutter's prescription: Emphasize protein and healthy fats, reduce carbohydrates.

In addition to the focus on following a low carb diet, Dr. Perlmutter emphasizes the quality of the protein and fats included in the "Grain Brain" diet. It's an emphasis supported by Dr. David Katz, who is concerned about the health risks of eating highly processed foods.

"At the extreme, these are foods that all but glow in the dark," said Dr. Katz, who works at Yale's Prevention Research Center, in a July 28 interview with MedPage Today. But he noted that consumers don't have to avoid all processed foods.

"On the other hand, cooking, freezing, drying, and fermenting are also forms of 'processing,' making grilled salmon, frozen peas, dried figs, and organic plain yogurt 'processed foods,'" he added. Thus he suggests focusing on featuring "real" food in your diet.

And that's the key, agree Dr. Perlmutter and Dr. Oz as well. Emphasize healthy fats, protein and non-starchy carbohydrates such as vegetables. And beware the "Frankenfood" glow-in-the-dark options the next time you shop.