Posted on Dec 30, 2013, 6 a.m.
Consuming foods abundant in fats or sugar may have a detrimental and damaging effect on cognitive skills, suggests a lab animal model.
A plethora of previous studies suggest deleterious effects of routine consumption of fat-or sugar-laden foods. Margaret J. Morris, from the University of New South Wales (Australia), and colleagues studied the impact of a diet high in fat and sugar on laboratory rats. The researchers observe that such foods resulted in memory impairments, after just one week. Specifically, the cognitive impairment was related to place recognition – where the animals showed poor ability to notice when an object have been moved to a new location. The animals also had inflammation of the hippocampal region of the brain, which is associated with spatial memory. Study authors report that: "These results show that relatively short exposures to diets rich in both fat and sugar or rich in sugar, impair .... memory … and suggest a role for oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in this impairment.”
Jessica E. Beilharz, Jayanthi Maniam, Margaret J. Morris. “Short exposure to a diet rich in both fat and sugar or sugar alone impairs place, but not object recognition memory in rats.” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 3 December 2013.