To Your Health
August, 2022 (Vol. 16, Issue 08)
High Fat Shrinks the Brain?
By Editorial Staff
If you're a perpetual high-fat consumer, listen up: A long-term high-fat diet does more than contribute to weight gain; it also has a detrimental impact on your brain. Let's take a look at what recent research suggests and why it may prompt you to change your diet for the better – starting now.
Researchers conducted a 30-week study using mice as the subjects, feeding some a high-fat diet. After 30 weeks, mice fed the high-fat diet not only had diabetes and had gained weight compared to mice who stayed on their standard diet; they also displayed signs of cognitive function deterioration, anxiety and depression.
Brain atrophy ("shrinking"), or the loss of brain cells / connections between brain cells, is a key feature of cognitive decline. In general, humans begin to experience brain atrophy in their 30s-40s, with the rate increasing after age 60. That's a natural process, but as this study suggests, consuming a consistently high-fat diet could make things worse ... sooner.
It's important to point out that while it's unclear what type of high-fat diet mice were fed in this study, we can assume it wasn't "healthy" fats such as that found in foods such as nuts, avocados and fatty fish (salmon, etc.). While those foods still contain high amounts of fat, they are regarded as healthy (in moderation) because they benefit cardiovascular health, among other benefits.
If your diet is high fat, particularly the "unhealthy" variety (red meat, butter, high-fat dairy, etc.), you've got two reasons to reduce your intake, per this study, findings from which appear in Metabolic Brain Disease: A consistently high-fat diet expands your waistline ... and shrinks your brain.