There may be something to those stories that McDonaldâ€™s and Burger King diets can affect our brains. A 2012 study published in Nature Neuroscience links diets high in fat to neurogenesis (growing of new brain cells) and obesity in mice.
According to the study, mice were placed into two groups – one fed a normal diet, and one stuffed full of high fat foods. After one month the adults on a high fat diet had quadruple the rate of new brain cells in the hypothalamus – the portion of the brain that is responsible for regulating and processing metabolism.
The question is, did the accelerated rate of neurogenesis cause obesity?
In order to answer this question, researchers exposed the newly created portions of the ratsâ€™ brains to radiation. They found that the area radiated slowed the process of neurogenesis by 85%, but even more interesting was the fact that the irradiated mice gained less weight and fat mass when compared to the high fat diet mice who did not receive the radiation treatments – even when kept on the same diet as before. They also found that the mice in the high fat diet that received the radiation had more energy and were more active, in spite of their unhealthy diet.
Although the link between high fat diets, obesity and brain function is very interesting, the results from the above study must be looked at with caution. It has not been conducted on humans and much further research needs to be done, so in the meantime a diet low in fat is still recommended.
It has been pointed out by many scientists that obesity often reacts like an addition to food in the brain. According to a 2012 study from the University of Amsterdam, addiction symptoms were found to be lowered by challenging cognitive training in subjects with a drinking problem. Alcoholics who took part in the training program drank less, and improved their memory capacity.
As neuroscientists continue to study how behavior changes the brainâ€™s functions they have found it extremely useful to realize cognitive training becomes even more important. Through brain games, cross-training your brain, and learning memory and cognitive skills that helps you to focus, positive changes in your brain will affect you body as well.
About the author:
Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory keynote speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life.
Lumosity – Obesity and your Brain: