The connection between fast food and dementia

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The connection between fast food and dementia

Research in 2019 showed that dementia affected about 57 million people worldwide, while 153 million cases are expected to be recorded by 2050 due to the global increase in life expectancy. Despite being one of the most significant causes of disability in high-income countries, effective treatment to prevent or delay the development of dementia symptoms is still lacking.

Fast food, food with a high percentage of additives, or ultra-processed food will be a significant segment in this development of the situation. “While this is a study of association, not designed to prove cause and effect, there are a number of elements to fortify the proposition that some acceleration in cognitive decay may be attributed to ultra-processed foods,” said Dr.

David Katz, a specialist in preventive and lifestyle medicine and nutrition, who was not involved in the study. “The sample size is substantial, and the follow-up extensive. While short of proof, this is robust enough that we should conclude ultra-processed foods are probably bad for our brains”.

“Ultra-processed foods drag diet quality down, and thus their concentration in the diet is an indicator of poor diet quality in most cases,” Katz said. “Atypical as it seems, apparently some of the participants managed it.

And when diet quality was high, the observed association between ultra-processed foods and brain function abated”. However, lifestyle habits such as regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and not smoking appear to reduce the likelihood of developing dementia.

Specifically, daily consumption of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish is associated with increased brain volume and retention of cognitive function over time. “People who consumed more than 20% of daily calories from processed foods had a 28% faster decline in global cognition and a 25% faster decline in executive functioning compared to people who ate less than 20%,” said study coauthor Natalia Gonçalves, a researcher in the department of pathology at the University of São Paulo Medical School.

Cook more and prepare food from scratch

“People need to know they should cook more and prepare their own food from scratch. I know. We say we don’t have time but it really doesn’t take that much time,” Suemoto said.

“And it’s worth it because you’re going to protect your heart and guard your brain from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease,” she added. “That’s the take-home message: Stop buying things that are superprocessed”.