By Kristin Sidorov
As if we needed another reason to cut back on calories, a new study has found an alarming link between high-calorie diets and memory function. In those ages 70 and older, consuming between 2,100 and 6,000 calories a day could double the risk of mild cognitive impairment.
These findings point to something we’ve heard before—our healthy (and not-so-healthy) habits follow us. Although the study can’t point to a specific mechanism connecting calories to dementia, it’s not surprising that a link exists. We already know that a healthy lifestyle and diet is beneficial in defending against all kinds of chronic diseases. Adding mild cognitive impairment, which is a precursor to dementia and Alzheimer’s, to that list isn’t a far stretch.
The study is quick to point out that it doesn’t prove a causal relationship between high-calorie diets and mild cognitive impairment; it’s possible that individuals who are cognitively impaired have a tendency to eat more, for example. But overall, it’s a useful starting point, and shows us that there’s more to a balanced diet than fitting into our skinny jeans.