The Mindspan Diet
by Preston Estep
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Released: May 3, 2016
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
The Mindspan Diet reveals a simple plan to slow cognitive decline based on studies of the diets of the “Mindspan Elite”—those populations that live longest with low levels of dementia. Startling in its revelations about healthy eating for those over the age of forty, it challenges us to rethink our approach to many common staples, including:
• Iron: While iron-fortified foods sound healthy, high iron intake can be toxic, especially for people over forty, and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease.
• Whole grains: Processed grains such as white rice, pasta, and flour are actually staples in the diets of cultures with the best cognitive health.
• Protein: Though it's considered by some to be a miracle macronutrient, high levels of protein are actually hard on the kidneys, promote cancer, and may accelerate the progression of dementia.
Includes more than seventy delicious recipes.
The Mindspan Diet is based on the diets of people who live in regions with low dementia rates. The author came up with a personal diet based on these "Mindspan Elite." He doesn't work professionally with dementia or nutrition, but we're basically asked to trust that the diet he came up with includes the foods that are actually responsible for low dementia rates.
His diet requires you to cook or make a lot of your own food. His main point was that most Americans get too much iron in their diet due to iron-fortified foods and from supplements, but the mindspan elite tend to be borderline anemic. His argument was fairly convincing, but not enough that I'd follow his advice to donate blood on a regular basis to keep my iron levels low.
The rest of his advice sometimes didn't flow logically, didn't align with with experts, or left me feeling muddled. For example, he advised lactose-intolerate people to drink milk but lactose digestors to avoid milk. Apparently many people in "Mindspan Elite" areas are lactose intolerant, but I need a study showing that those lactose intolerant people consume milk and this is directly responsible for their lack of dementia. It could simply be something they manage to get away with, like his story of the 100+ year old who smoked.
Also, I was concerned by some of his recommendations. He recommended using olive oil or canola oil. He didn't explain how to avoid food fraud with olive oil, which is a problem with this oil. Canola oil and soy products may be fine in "Mindspan Elite" areas, but almost all canola and soy in the USA are GMOs. There are serious health concerns surrounding GMOs (including cancer), yet his recipes frequently included these foods.
Basically, I needed more proof and a clearer explanation before I'll go against long-standing nutritional advice.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.