If you are looking for yet another reason to cut back on calories, think brain health. In a first-of-its-kind laboratory evaluation, scientist determined that caloric restriction positively affected the expression of over 900 genes tied to age-related brain deterioration. For this study researchers fed lab mice prone to develop dementia a lifetime diet with 30 percent fewer calories relative to a control group of dementia prone mice. Both groups of mice had the activity of over 10,000 genes examined from their brain tissues during both midlife and late adulthood.
What the researchers observed was quite compelling. Compared to the control mice, the mice fed the lower calorie diet had almost total arrest of the gene activity involved in brain aging. And while a single lab study is certainly not enough to label cutting calories as “the real fountain of youth”, it does shed some new light on the potentially profound impact diet can have on brain health. Given that many past studies in humans have repeatedly linked midlife weight gain and obesity to poorer brain function and dementia, I think we would all be wise and possibly even wiser, if we were more mindful of how much we ate. (Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience Washington, DC November 2014)
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