Love processed junk food? You know it’s bad for you, but you figure you can just step your workout up a notch or skip a few meals to make up for it, right?
Not necessarily. A recent study out of Sweden suggests that a high calorie diet doesn’t just do damage to your waistline — it can have irreversible effects on your brain, too. In fact, your risk of dementia in your golden years is 71 percent higher if you’re overweight.
Does junk food shrink your brain? Quite possibly so, University of Los Angeles neurology profession Paul Thompson told the Daily Mail. In studies, he and his team have found that a bad diet does exactly that; “We know that a fatty diet clogs our arteries and is bad for our heart, and it does exactly the same thing to blood vessels in the brain,” he said.
On average, Thompson discovered that the brain of an obese person in their 70s was four to eight percent smaller than that of normal-weight peers. Gradual brain loss is normal as you grow old, so what obesity does is age your brain faster.
And while losing four percent of your brain doesn’t sound like much, it can really add up. “[Obese people] had lost 8 percent of their brain, so they were 16 years older [than regular weight people of the same age.] It won’t kill you, but there will come a point when it’s noticeable — when about 10 per cent of your brain tissues have died,” he added.
Moral of the story? It doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s or your 60s — what you do for your body right now matters, so take care of it. Your health — and especially the health of your mind — depends on it.