Junk food is accessible almost everywhere in the world. It is one of the leading causes of obesity and can increase your risk of developing diabetes. New research now suggests junk food can negatively affect your memory.
Researchers have discovered high levels of insulin caused by consuming too much junk food, or a bad diet, may affect the brain.
Prior research already confirmed bad diets are linked to dementia due to high blood pressure and cholesterol disrupting the blood supply to the brain, but research now demonstrates it can also prevent brain cells from responding properly to insulin.
Too much fatty foods and sweets can increase an individual's insulin level causing muscles, fat and liver cells to no longer respond to the hormone. Like other organs, subjecting the brain to a significant amount of insulin can cause it to stop responding to the hormone, restricting our ability to think and create new memories.
Researchers at Brown University, led by Dr. Suzanne del Monte, theorized a similar process may affect the brain. Using rats, researchers found that blocking the insulin from rats' brains, caused confusion, and they were also incapable of finding their way out of a maze. A closer look at the brain demonstrated similar patterns of Alzheimer's disease, including high levels of the amyloid plaque which is a key component of the disease.
Despite the lack of progress in new treatment options, there have been some positive developments in regards to improving memory. A small study conducted at Washington University discovered those who were given a nasal spray containing insulin were better at remembering details of a story, had longer attention spans and were more independent. A follow-up study of more than 200 volunteers demonstrated early signs of dementia will provide additional clues whether the spray can protect memory and learning ability and keep track of changes in patients.
If obesity and diabetes are not enough to keep you away from junk food, just think in a few years you won't even remember what junk food is.
The junk food study and the Brown University study were published in The New Scientist.