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Food and dementia - the link

We like stodgy food - saturated fats and added sugar add up to niceness, comfort and satisfaction. Why do the scientists insist on telling us that it's not good for us?

Blame the reward system in our brain. It could do with an update to its settings - it still allows us to believe that what should have been exceptional circumstances in our environment (fat and sugar) can be acceptable on a day to day basis. Unfortunately not true if you want to enjoy health, fitness and even... good memory skills.

We already had a lot of evidence that a high fat, high sugar diet (called "Westernised diet") led to dementia-style symptoms in animals, but we didn't want to believe the same could be true in humans without some solid evidence.

That evidence is here in bulk and can no longer be ignored.

In the most recent issue of Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews (Nov 2021 130 91-106) Zoe Taylor and colleagues from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia run through all pertinent publications on the question and conclude that humans, like animals, are definitely susceptible to hippocampal damage (the hippocampus is the brain structure at the heart of memory processes) even after just a few days of a Westernised diet.

Lowering the levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and increasing inflammation are the two main mechanisms that explain the diabolical effects of saturated fats and added sugars.

Did I mention that dance has been shown to reverse both of these mechanisms as it increases BDNF and decreases inflammatory cytokines?

Never too little, never too late when you're talking about dancing.