The brain needs a lot of fuel to run, and mostly, it runs on the sugar molecule called glucose. However, the brain in people with Alzheimer’s disease can’t use glucose as efficiently — but it can use ketones, which are molecules formed when dietary fat breaks down. When a person is on a ketogenic diet — lots of fat and very few sugars and starches, with the Atkins diet being the most well-known example — the brain tends to use ketones as a source of energy instead of glucose. That’s the rationale for testing this kind of diet in people with mild cognitive impairment, which can be an early indication of developing Alzheimer’s.
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