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Alzheimers & carbs
maccool posted:
My husband has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimers. One thing I have noticed is that he is eating more carbs than ever before in his life. Anyone else notice this as a symptom? An example is that he never ate cereal before and now he has 2 or 3 bowls a day - no milk just cereal straight from the box.
cjh1203 responded:
I've definitely noticed it with my uncle. He especially eats carbs in the form of sweets. He never had a sweet tooth before, but he's always eating donuts, cake, ice cream and candy now. Byroney pointed out that a Mediterranean diet is the healthiest for Alzheimer's patients, but I don't know how you get them to eat like that.
maccool replied to cjh1203's response:
Thanks for the input. I don't know how to stop it, either. He will eat what you put in front of him BUT still gets himself cereal, cookies, doughnuts. Just find it curious and wonder what the connection could be.
cjh1203 replied to maccool's response:
If it gives him pleasure, maybe it's not worth trying to stop him from eating those things. That's sort of what I thought about my uncle -- he doesn't have much in his life that does bring him pleasure, so he might as well enjoy his food.
Helene Bergman, LMSW responded:
Nutrition is one of the areas that caregivers often must assume responsibility for....even if the person's Alzheimer's is at an early stage. A short term memory deficit can result in one forgetting if he/she ate or not. Thus, meals may be missed or one might eat multiple meals at each sitting. Impaired judgment, another symptom even at an early stage, can impact on dietary choices. Thus, someone who never ate fats or salt (or carbs as you mentioned), may begin to crave these previously 'forbidden' foods. Sweets especially fall into this category and may provide pleasure that one had forsaken due to sugar problems or concern with weight.

This problem can become a 'quality of life' issue and that is where the caregiver must make choices. "Should I restrict my loved one's diet because it may cause medical problems or should I look away and let him/her have some enjoyment" is the dilemma.

Some helpful strategies include daily dietary monitoring, keeping nutritious food visible on the shelves (even transferred into boxes of more desired foods!) and buying low fat and low salt foods and snacks only. If the 'undesired' food is not available, it will not be eaten. The one strategy to be avoided is trying to reason with your loved one in order to change her/his behavior. Advice and counseling can agitate and will probably be forgotten.

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