Food and Behaviour Research

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11 Jan 2013 - Food Navigator - Western diet may cause brain impairment and neurodegenerative conditions, say researchers

Consumption of a high fat, high sugar, Western style diet leads to the long-term impairment of brain functioning and may contribute to the development of neurodegenerative conditions, say scientists reviewing decades of evidence.


Modern, Western-type diets lead to physical ill-health. The evidence is now undeniable that such diets (providing an excess of sugar and other refined carbohydrates as well as unhealthy fats) contribute to  obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.     

It should hardly be surprising that a diet that is so bad for the body is also bad for the brain - and this new review does a good job of summarising the evidence for this, drawing from both animal studies and the evidence in humans.

See: 'The longer-term impacts of Western diet on human cognition and the brain.' Francis & Stevenson 2013, Appetite, Jan 3, 63C:119-128.

"It is now widely agreed that there has been a rise in obesity levels in Western societies over the past 30 years", said the researchers.  "It is therefore clearly important to understand how the foods that make us fat also act to impair cognition and affect, and whether and how these impairments can further dysregulate appetitive control in humans".