Recently published and already controversial book “Grain Brain: the surprising truth about wheat, carbs and sugar – your brains silent killer,” by Dr. David Perlmutter has gained nationwide attention in part thanks to televisions Dr. Mehmet Oz; where Perlmutter attested that butter was a heart healthy fat but fruits such as bananas were bad for our health. “The best diet is a high fat, low-glycemic index and low-carbohydrate,” Dr. Perlmutter said.
A neurologist in Naples, FL, Perlmutter claims that neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia are caused by inflammation of the brain caused by certain foods we eat and are actually preventable. Perlmutter states, “The best diet focuses on good fats, from eating olive oil, avocadoes, nuts, seeds, fish, grass fed beef, goat cheese and fish oils are fundamentals for health, while carb-derived calories as one might get from things like bread, pasta, potatoes, below ground vegetables, fruit and fruit juices are really things that you want to do your very best to avoid for a brain-healthy diet.”
Perlmutter’s view about neurological health being dependent upon diet is not entirely accepted by others in the medical community. Food industry and dietary experts have labeled his claims as nonsensical and lacking real scientific evidence. His diet recommendations of high fat foods are considered unsustainable and unbalanced. Dr. Perlmutter also makes the assertion that Diabetes is a choice and not a matter of genetics which heats up the controversy further.
In an interview with FoodNavigator-USA, Julie Miller PhD, a professor emerita of foods and nutrition at St. Catherine University said about grain Brain, "He has so many themes in there it's hard to know what to talk about. It's like a field that has good plants, some you are not so sure of and weeds."
Jones continues on about Perlmutter's talk about carbs in grains and in fruit setting off inflammation in pathways. If it is a brain disorder, then diet is the problem. He appeals to groups like older people who are afraid of losing it. He appeals to young parents who are afraid their children might turn out to be autistic, says Jones.
Perlmutter is no stranger to controversy since he is a leader in the usage of hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of neurological disorders including stroke survivors, vascular dementia, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. This form of treatment is not recognized as therapeutically beneficial by most in the medical community since there is insufficient scientific evidence to support claims that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can treat patients effectively.
According to studies published in CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics and posted by PubMed.gov concluded, “No plausible benefit of HBO(2)T (hyperbaric oxygen treatment) on the clinical course of multiple sclerosis was identified.”
There is also the issue that Perlmutter is recommending the use of Protandim which is a multi-ingredient antioxidant supplement that is raising eyebrows. The controversy here lies with the fact that the supplement is manufactured by Utah-based network marketing company LifeVantage which has Perlmutter on their scientific advisory board.
Overall there is no evidence leading to Perlmutter’s claims. His book Brain Grain seems to be misleading public opinion with construed information and creating fear of viable health concerns in order to push his own dietary agenda. Other studies of how diets affect the risk of dementia have been chronicled. Both the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet have shown to lower risk of dementia and both include substantial portions of carbohydrates which includes fruits and whole grains.
The following public statement was issued by The Whole Grains Council in regards to Perlmutter’s book, “Grain Brain is a misleading and sensationalist title for a book that distorts current science and contributes, sadly, to public confusion about what constitutes a healthy diet.”