Perlmutter, a neurologist in Naples, Florida claims that inflammation is the cause of many neurogenerative diseases and disorders such as dementia, diabetes, depression, ADHD, irritable bowel, and Alzheimer’s. The solution according to Perlmutter is to eliminate gluten, follow a low-carb diet and feed your brain a diet that’s high in fat. Fat, he claims will provide the nourishment that the brain needs. The diet involves restricting carbohydrates to 30 to 40 grams a day, followed by a maintenance phase of 60 grams of carbs.
Unfortunately, we find this advice to be unsubstantiated at this time. Much of the evidence cited in the book is anecdotal and based on testimonials as well as the author’s own experience with his patients. The overpromise of health benefits from his diet plan raises another red flag. Plus, science tells us that carbs (more specifically glucose, and not fat) are the preferred fuel for our brain.
The author’s recommendation to increase our intake of fat to 80% of our daily calories warrants discussion. It’s a far cry from Health Canada’s fat recommendations of 20-35% of our daily calories. While it’s true that we could all stand to increase our consumption of healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fats from foods such as fish, avocados and olive oil, it’s not advisable at this point to increase our intake of saturated fats because of their negative effect on heart health. What we also know is that swapping saturated fat for polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats is beneficial to our heart health.
Perlmutter does make some recommendations with which we whole-heartedly agree. For one thing, he recommends that we exercise more and more regularly (he recommends at least 30 minutes, five times a week). Secondly, he advises that we work on getting restful, routine sleep seven days a week. The bottom line though is that Grain Brain is a low-carb diet. Instead of cutting out carbs, our advice is to choose smart carbs like whole grains, vegetables and fruit as part of a balanced diet.
Canada’s new Allergen and Gluten labelling regulations came into full force on August 4, 2012. The long-awaited guidance document to industry outlines the requirements for the “gluten-free claim”. For interested marketers, the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) now provides a Gluten-Free Certification Program which includes the use of the CCA’s gluten-free logo.
Health Canada’s report on “gluten-free” claim criteria states that products that do not exceed 20 ppm, and are manufactured under “Good Manufacturing Practices” meet the intent of regulations for “gluten-free” claim. It’s up to the manufacturers to ensure that they meet the established criteria before using the “gluten-free” claim. Read the full report.
Implications to your business:
Gluten-free claims target an increasing number of consumers who are seeking to limit gluten in their diet. According to the Canadian Celiac Association, it’s estimated that 2,300,000 people require gluten-free products – 300,000 Canadians who have celiac disease and another 2 million who have non-celiac disease gluten sensitivity. It’s not surprising that the market for gluten-free products is expected to grow. Consider learning more about the health and nutrition needs of consumers to help your business. The gluten-free claim is regulated and may be used by manufacturers whose products meet the criteria. The Canadian Celiac Association’s voluntary program may also be of interest to marketers of gluten-free foods.