retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Get ready for the MIND Diet.

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that "researchers successfully tested a special diet they designed that appears to reduce the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease," with the added benefit of also appearing to reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease. Called the MIND Diet, the acronym stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, and it essentially combines elements of the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet.

"The MIND diet borrows significantly from the other two, and all are largely plant-based and low in high-fat foods," the Journal writes. "But the MIND diet places particular emphasis on eating “brain-healthy” foods such as green leafy vegetables and berries, among other recommendations."

According to the story, "The MIND diet includes at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day - along with a glass of wine. It also involves snacking most days on nuts and eating beans every other day or so, poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week. Dieters must limit eating the designated unhealthy foods, especially butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three), to have a real shot at avoiding the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s, according to a study by Rush University Medical Center researchers." Also off the menu if you want to avoid Alzheimer's, the researchers suggest, are red meats, pastries and sweets.

The story says that "experts say there is growing awareness that lifestyle factors - not just genetics - play a prominent role in the development of Alzheimer’s, and researchers hope to come up with an optimal diet that will lessen the chances of developing the disease. An estimated 5.1 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, a number expected to grow to 7.1 million by 2025, according to the Alzheimer’s Association."

However, there are caveats in the story: "The research was observational, not randomized or controlled, and therefore isn’t evidence the MIND diet caused a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s. Instead, the research shows there is an association between the two."
KC's View:
I have no idea of this diet will work or not, though it certainly does seem doable. But if you want to talk about marketing ... creating a way of eating that seems to address concerns about Alzheimer's and dementia strikes me as a powerful go-to-market tool, because there are few people out there who have not been touched by one of these. And if you know someone in your family who has had either, you tend to worry about whether you will somehow fall victim to these horrible diseases, and that could propel you to changing certain habits.