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Fatty Foods Impair Memory and Exercise Performance: Study

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Fatty foods have an almost immediate negative effect on short-term memory and exercise performance, British researchers say.

The study included rats that were fed a low-fat diet and trained to complete a challenging maze and to run on a treadmill. Half the rats were then switched to a high-fat diet. In subsequent maze and treadmill tests, the rats on the high-fat diet had poorer memory and muscle performance than the rats that kept eating a low-fat diet, The New York Times reported.

"We expected to see changes, but maybe not so dramatic and not in such a short space of time,'' study lead author Andrew Murray, a lecturer in physiology at Cambridge University, told the Times. "It was really striking how quickly these effects happened.''

The findings appear in The Faseb Journal, published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Murray and his colleagues found that high-fat diets had similar effects in humans, but those findings haven't yet been published.

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EmpowHER Guest

We have known for some time that caloric restriction relates to longevity and functional health in animals. However, the issue of whether caloric restriction also benefits humans has been less clear. It’s also obvious and important to note how difficult caloric restriction can be for humans, particularly when such reduction in calories is significant.

Much work is done on the quality of what is consumed when one reviews the many dietary plans offered on the market. Less is focused on the quantity and it is generally true that those living in western nations over-consume. This has resulted in an alarming increase in obesity and diabetes, including a significant number of cases emerging in childhood.

The balance of sugars and insulin in our bodies is very important. An unhealthy balance can lead to diabetes and multiple other medical problems, some of which affect the brain such as stroke and dementia. We now know that what we eat affects both the structure and function of our brain and more attention is now focused on both the quality and quantity of our diets.
Dr. Paul Nussbaum

August 14, 2009 - 3:27pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Thank you, Dr. Nussbaum, for your response.

I agree that the quality of the caloric intake is an important factor to consider in the quantity of our intake. Isn't this why we need to be aware of "empty calories," such as in refined sugars, that we might consume over nutritionally valuable foods containing natural sugars?

I think there's a correlation between economic health and over consumption in not just Western, but in other countries where there is significant economic growth, especially where capitalism is encouraged.

August 14, 2009 - 4:16pm
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