Your bad diet is shrinking your brain: a chilling warning for over-60s 43



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Australian researchers may have just made the first concrete connection between junk food consumption and brain size.

The new study, published yesterday, has found that those with unhealthy diets have measurably smaller brains; yet another incentive to recognise the awful impact bad food can have on our health, particularly past the age of 60.

Associate Professor Felice Jacka, told the ABC that the hippocampus (the brain’s “filing cabinet”) naturally gets smaller over 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 you know, it’s a not insubstantial amount”.

She likened eating bad food to giving your car bad fuel. “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. In the same way the food that we put in our mouths needs to be of the best quality”.

According to Deakin University’s report, Associate Professor Jacka has also suggested these findings have relevance for dementia and mental health.

“Mental disorders account for the leading cause of disability worldwide, while rates of dementia are increasing as the population ages,” she said.

“Recent research has established that diet and nutrition are related to the risk for depression, anxiety and dementia, however, until now it was not clear how diet might exert an influence on mental health and cognition.

“This latest study sheds light on at least one of the pathways by which eating an unhealthy diet may influence the risk for dementia, cognitive decline and mental disorders such as depression and anxiety in older people.

“However, it also points to the importance of diet for brain health in other age groups. As the hippocampus is critical to learning and memory throughout life, as well as being a key part of the brain involved in mental health, this study underscores the importance of good nutrition for children, adolescents and adults of all ages”.

Are you surprised by these findings? Do they make you rethink your diet? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. junk food is much more expensive than fresh, i would rather chew my own arm off than eat mc donalds. i do go there only if they have that frozen coke and ice-cream once a year maybe

  2. A couple of years I walked into a McDonalds with a group for coffee. As it was my first time in a McDonalds shop I didn`t know how to order and staff were amazed one lass said “but everyone goes to McDonalds”, I also don`t frequent coffee shops so it was a double whamey.

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  3. Julie I think that junk food is actually cheaper, especially at McDonalds where you can get burger and fries for under $5. It costs me $3 for a fresh cauliflower, or some other vegetable, then there’s the meat or fish to buy too. I don’t like the food at McDonalds but it is “cheap and cheerful” as the saying goes.

  4. I don’t eat junk food because I enjoy cooking. I can recommend the Enchilada Pie that I got from this page. Yummy. My husband and I had 3 meals out of it. That would make it about say 6 meals at about $4.00 a meal. Very reasonable and healthy.

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  5. Junk food, Golden Arches or KFC, restaurants why not. When I’m travelling by road I carry fruit and nuts to nibble and supplement that with Mackers or KFC etc or a truckies stop.

    Restaurants, during my working life I probably had 4,500 nights in hotels so I’ve probably had 10 to 12 thousand meals in restaurants. Do I have soup, entree, main course and sweets? NO. So don’t do it when you are not at home.

  6. We don’t eat junk food. It is too expensive. Most nights I cook. Twice a week I have salmon and I always have steamed vegetables. I always thought it was too much alcohol that friend your brains.

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