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Dementia and Diabetes


Registered User
Nov 4, 2015
I'd just like to hear other people's experiences.

My mother has had type 2 diabetes for about twenty years. She has never paid much attention to her diet and she has a very sweet tooth.

Now that she is in the early stages of dementia, health care professionals, including the diabetic nurse, have told me that, given her dementia and her age (nearly 90), it isn't worth depriving her of sugary foods that give her pleasure.

I can see their argument, but my perception is that when i take steps to reduce the amount of sugar in her diet, she feels physically better, looks less ill, and is less confused.

This came up as an issue when I was staying with her recently. During the first couple of weeks I was there, I deprived her of sugar. This was quite easy to do, since I was doing all the shopping and I simply refused to buy chocolate or biscuits. We had a couple of rows about it, but she did seem to improve. Or maybe it was just the attention she was getting? Anyway, after we'd seen the diabetic nurse, who told me not to stop mum eating sugar, I gave up, and within a few days it seemed to me that mum went downhill. It wasn't just me -- her cleaner complained to me that mum had been much better when I'd stopped her eating sugar, and wanted to know why had I given up?


Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
This is interesting, MiL has the same combination.
I feel that if sugar intake can be reduced, then all to the good.
Getting her to understand, it's for her own good.............
If you have full control of the shopping, it's not to bad.
If not then as much control, as you can, is the best you can do.
Make a point of taking blood sugar levels as regular as you can, to keep an eye on what is going on.
You may have to buy a meter, I don't think they are supplied for Type 2 now.



Registered User
Feb 21, 2015
Interesting - my mother is in later stages of dementia and has borderline Type 2 diabetes. She just LOVES sweet things and will eat them in preference to anything else. As she is nearly 94 I have been not too bothered about this - maybe I should be?


Registered User
Feb 11, 2015
Hi Moorcroft, In a nutshell I think you are right and I think you are far better placed to observe the effect sugar has on your Mum than a nurse who would never spend longer than a few minutes with her. We seem to have lost the understanding that food is fuel for our bodies and that what we consume our body then has to process and that isn't always easy if we eat too many processed, high sugar foods.

This link discusses the growing theory that diabetes and Alzheimer's are closely related - indeed some researchers have put forward the theory that Dementia should be re classified as Type 3 Diabetes.....



Registered User
May 5, 2015
Salford, Lancashire
Hi Moorcroft,

Being type 2 diabetic myself, I can say that if my blood sugar is too high I do feel the effects. In fact recently I was putting my tiredness/lethargy down to working full time in a demanding job as well as being a carer for my Mum, but had my annual review at docs and got told my blood sugar was way too high - increased meds & I now realise it was that causing the tiredness. I now feel much 'brighter'. If you can reduce your Mums sugar intake I can only think it will help her, and if others also noticed an improvement that gives more to the case for doing so.

One other thing I will say - if your Mum does have a sweet tooth and it's difficult to cut out the sugary things, maybe look at her carbohydrate intake as well. In fact it's carbs as much as added sugar that can cause a problem. I no longer eat lasange, and minimise pasta. Crisps are also a problem (doc told me complete no no!). Also some fruit can be high in sugar - the quick release nature of the sugar in bananas was known to send me dizzy before I was diagnosed and stopped eating them.

Anyway good luck - you know your Mum best so do what you think is right.



Registered User
Oct 7, 2014
Oh is type 2 and is now paying a dietician to help get on track. She has reduced his carb intake he is not happy but at hospital last week for an angiogram they said blood sugar was perfect. So maybe cut down her bread and potatoes as well. By the way sainsburys sell a potato type which is lower in carbohydrate than any others

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