Eating Junk Food Can Destroy Your Memory, Study Finds

Even a week’s worth of junk food resulted in cognitive decline in lab rats

Wikimedia Commons/ jef
So delicious, so unhealthy.

If you’ve been eating a few more cheeseburgers than usual over the past couple of weeks and have had trouble finding your keys, the two just might be related, according to a study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Apparently, rats fed a diet high in fat and sugar for as brief as a week showed memory impairment.

The rats showed cognitive impairment in terms of place recognition, so they weren’t able to remember when an object had been moved from one place to another as well as other rats that had eaten healthy diets. Their hippocampus, which is associated with spatial memory, was also inflamed.

Most disconcertingly, the damage wasn’t reversed when the rats switched back to eating healthy. And the fact that the damage was done in as little as a week means that eating a consistently unhealthy diet for even a brief period of time might have long-term damaging effects on your brain.

Yet another reason to stick to your New Year’s resolution! Or maybe a reason not to, if the damage has technically already been done. 


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