Lab Mouse - ©

High Fat Diet Expands Waistline, Shrinks Brain

Science has uncovered a correlation between a high fat diet and brain function that should leave many of us concerned for our cognitive futures. Not only that, but excess fat may also contribute to the development or worsening of disorders ranging from depression to anxiety to Alzheimer’s…

Fat American with Flag Shirt - © voanews.comNew Study: As your waistline expands, your brainpower shrinks…

We all know that excessive consumption of saturated fats can aid and abet obesity, cardiovascular disease and other plagues of modern society.

But a team at the University of South Australia (UniSA) now says it has discovered a link between high fat diets and the development or worsening of a whole range of brain issues.

What they did

According to an abstract of the study report: “Mice were randomly allocated to a standard diet or a high-fat diet for 30 weeks, starting at eight weeks of age. Food intake, body weight and glucose levels were monitored at different intervals, along with glucose and insulin tolerance tests and cognitive dysfunction.”

The mice were observed noting changes in weight and behaviour. The findings were surprising, team leaders UniSA neuroscientists Professor Xin-Fu Zhou and Associate Professor Larisa Bobrovskaya said.

What they found

The mice on the high-fat diet gained a lot of weight, developed insulin resistance and started behaving abnormally compared to those fed a standard diet.

Genetically modified Alzheimer’s disease mice showed a significant deterioration of cognition and pathological changes in the brain while fed the high fat diet.

The takeaway

“Obesity and diabetes impair the central nervous system, exacerbating psychiatric disorders and cognitive decline,” Bobrovskaya says. “Obese individuals have about a 55 per cent increased risk of developing depression, and diabetes will double that risk.

“Our findings underline the importance of addressing the global obesity epidemic. A combination of obesity, age and diabetes is very likely to lead to a decline in cognitive abilities, Alzheimer’s disease and other mental health disorders.”

My take

It only stands to reason. Just look at the healthiest, longest-lived and emotionally healthiest folks in the world are the ones who just naturally espouse low-fat diets; and prefer unsaturaterd fats when  they do choose a cooking oil or spread. The best example of that lifestyle? Yup. The Mediteranean Diet.

And I think it’s important to note that the study confirms the role of a high fat diet in the development of obesity. It’s not just the added sugars in packaged and processed foods.

~ Maggie J.