Do you eat salads during the week and fries at the weekend? These are the consequences of cyclical diets
We all know that eating a healthy diet with lots of fiber and vitamins and not a lot of calories is much better for life and limb than your average delivery meal full of fat and sugar. But what happens to your brain if you alternate between a healthy and an unhealthy diet every week?
Fast food, you can hardly escape from it in western society, temptations are everywhere. However, most people eat a reasonably varied and healthy diet. We start the week well with lots of fruits and vegetables and a little chocolate and chips. But then it is Friday evening and the wine comes to the table with a mass of cheese or bitters. Why not: It’s the weekend, she’s been busy at the office and we’ve been eating healthy all week?
Fast food course
Australian researchers They achieved What those unhealthy weekend days are doing to your short-term memory. To do this, they put a group of lab mice on a questionable cyclic diet. Previous research has already shown that a diet full of sugar and fat is harmful to the cognitive skills of mice and humans. effects of the “diet ride” However, it has not been investigated. Professor Margaret Morris explains University of New South Wales Outside.
“Our lab recently investigated the relationship between a diet high in fat and sugar and short-term memory work. For this we put mice on different diets and looked at how this affected them,” says Professor Mike Kindig. One group of mice was given only healthy rat food. The other group was fed only unhealthy “cafeteria food” full of fat and sugar for 16 days. Other rats received the same amount of this unhealthy food, but with a few days passed between them when the diet consisted of healthy rat food. In this way, the effect of longer and shorter diet cycles can be measured.
The results were not good. Mice that were forced to eat junk food showed a poorer score on a working memory test, compared to the healthy diet group. In addition, the longer the junk food intake, the worse the animals remembered the location of objects in the maze. It is also interesting that pronounced changes in the gastrointestinal tract were seen in fast food rats. The microbiome contained fewer different bacterial species and there were more “bad” bacteria and fewer “good” bacteria. This effect increases the longer the unhealthy eating period. All of the rats served in the cafeteria also gained more weight than their healthy counterparts. It made little or no difference how long the “unhealthy cycles” lasted. In other words, the effect on short-term memory and the microbiome appears to be independent of weight gain.
How is this possible? Several factors appear to play an important role, including the quality of the intestinal flora. Our analysis shows that the presence of two types of bacteria is associated with reduced short-term memory performance. So cyclic diets and their effects on the microbiome directly affect memory status,” says Kindig.
Inflammatory responses in the brain
Obviously, the digestive system is connected to the brain. Morris explains that changes in the microbiome can affect our brains and behavior. Another reason could be that an unhealthy diet causes inflammation in the body and brain. We know that inflammatory reactions in the brain can be detrimental to the functioning of parts of the brain. In the past, we have also been able to show that deterioration of brain function goes hand in hand with inflammation in the brain.”
It seems strongly that fast food affects the structure of the brain. Previous research has already shown that the hippocampus, a brain region essential for learning and memory, can shrink under the influence of a diet full of fats and sugars.
Healthy food for a healthy brain
One of the main conclusions of the research is that small changes in our diet can actually have an impact on our thinking and memory. Regular long periods of healthy eating are very important for keeping our short-term memory in good working order. We believe this is essential for healthy aging with a well-functioning brain. If we maintain a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet that contains lots of variety, fruits, vegetables, low saturated fats and good proteins, we have a better chance of a good memory,” concludes Morris.
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