“Alarming” foods: study warns – 5 can lead to dementia

For many of us, one thing is particularly important when it comes to eating: it has to be fast, convenient and tasty. Highly processed foods they offer exactly this in everyday life. They can be prepared in the meantime and in a short time and offer a feeling of satiety, at least for a short time. They are not known to be healthy. The fact that, in addition to weight gain, they can also lead to dementia is a new scientific discovery.

Beware of highly processed foods? This is what the research says

Researchers at Ohio State University found a possible correlation between highly processed foods and the development of memory loss and dementia in experiments with rats. According to the 2021 study published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, the animals were divided into two groups – a young and an old cohort – and fed the appropriate food.

After four weeks, the older rats failed a series of cognitive tests. They demonstrated partial memory loss. They did not remember where they had just been or forgot signs of fear in the face of danger. Such reactions cannot be observed in the group of young mice, according to a university statement.

The highly processed foods used in the experiment included those that are often intended for long-term food storage:

  • French fries
  • go Snack
  • frozen instant pasta
  • frozen pizza
  • Meat-based cured meats with preservatives

The researcher classifies the effects as “alarming”.

Ruth Barrientos, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral health and one of the lead authors of the study, explains the severity of the present findings:

“The fact that we are seeing these effects so quickly is a little alarming. The findings suggest that consuming processed foods can produce significant and sudden memory deficits and, as we age, rapid memory decline is more likely to progress. towards a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease “.

Ruth Barrientos, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral health (Department of Behavioral Medicine, Ohio State University)

According to the study, prevention is still possible

As the researchers discovered concurrently in their study, the observed effects can be mitigated by adding the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. This should prevent memory loss and also almost completely reduce the associated inflammatory effects. Barrientos action recommendation is accordingly:

“(…) perhaps we can limit the processed foods in our diet and increase the consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid DHA, thus preventing or slowing the process.”

Ruth Barrientos, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral health (Department of Behavioral Medicine, Ohio State University)

What are highly processed foods?

Highly processed foods often contain many more ingredients and can be eaten directly with or without heating. In addition, there are various additives in the products, such as flavors, dyes and preservatives. Some of these, such as the sodium nitrite (E250) in cured sausages, can also form carcinogens in the body.

In general, highly processed foods should be consumed in manageable quantities. Their nutrient density is generally very low, while their calorie content is often very high. There are also a lot of fats, carbohydrates, salt and sugar. They provide little in the way of satiety of protein and fiber. If there is a lack of regular exercise at the same time, they can promote overweight and obesity, as Eatsmarter reports.

Quellen: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity: “Dietary DHA Prevents Cognitive Impairment and Inflammatory Gene Expression in Older Male Rats Fed a Refined Carbohydrate-Enriched Diet,” Ohio State University, Eatsmarter

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