In the we always knew it, but now we have proof category, it turns out that older people who eat a lot of junk food have notably smaller brains, based on data from a recent study in Australia.
The new research provides important information about the impact of an unhealthy diet on an area of the brain named the hippocampus (the “filing cabinet” of the brain).
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The junk food study was published in the most recent edition of BMC Medicine.
Details on new junk food damages brain study
The Australian researchers examined 250 males and females in their 60s and took initial MRI scans to measure the size of the hippocampus.
“The hippocampus is absolutely central to learning and memory,” noted Associate Professor Felice Jacka, from Australia’s Deakin University.
The results are scary for many people today, but really not all that surprising. Jacka explains: “Basically your hippocampus gets smaller as you age, and the difference we found between people with good diets and people with poor diets in terms of their left hippocampal volume, it counted for about 60 per cent of that aged-related decline. So it’s a not an insubstantial amount.”
Jacka points out that the new research offered yet more proof that a poor diet is related to both physical but mental problems. “The quality of people’s diets is related to their risk for depression in particular,” she noted.
She highlights that scientists already knew from animal experiments that you can change hippocampal function by diet, but this is the first time it’s been proven in humans.
“In a way food is like petrol for our body and if you put into your car petrol that is dirty or watered down you’re really not going to get the best outcome from your car, ” Jacka says.”And in the same way, the food that we put in our mouths needs to be of the best quality.”
Keep in mind that this peer-reviewed study did take other factors such as blood pressure, depression, socioeconomic status, education and gender into account in analyzing the data