We all know that “fat” is not good for us, even “good fats” in excess can cause health issues, but did you know that it may also reduce brain volume? Yikes! In a study of healthy, middle-aged adults, greater visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat predicted brain atrophy especially in women. Hmmm, that just doesn’t seem fair especially for post-menopausal women, right?
The researchers found that higher amounts of both visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat predicted lower total gray and white matter volume, which is quite dramatic. Overall, they found that subcutaneous and visceral fat have similar levels of negative relationships with brain volumes. Additionally, previous studies have linked obesity with cognitive decline and increased risk of dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association is leading a 2-year clinical trial known as U.S. POINTER to see whether combining physical activity, healthy nutrition, social and intellectual challenges, and improved self-management of medical conditions can protect cognitive function in older adults at higher risk. At the end of the day, take care of yourself, avoid yo-yo dieting, maintain a healthy weight, exercise, practice good sleep hygiene, and remember, “to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world” (Dr. Seuss). Stay well and stay informed!