Excessive calorie intake isn’t only making us fat. A new study from the Mayo Clinic found that people over 70 who ate higher-calorie diets had an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a stage of memory loss that often precedes dementia (via Time Healthland).
Researchers divided 1,233 participants—163 who had symptoms of MCI—aged 70 to 89 into three groups based on the amount of the calories they consumed each day.
The group who ate the highest amount of calories (between 2,143 to 6,000 calories per day) were twice as likely to have MCI compared to those who consumed the lowest amount of calories (between 600 to 1,526 per day).
“Not only did each category show differences, but we also saw a dose-response trend,” study author Dr. Yonas Geda told Loren Grush of FoxNews.com. “This means that if you keep increasing and increasing caloric intake, then the risk of developing MCI keeps increasing. So we looked at each category separately, and then we looked at [and observed] a trend overall.”
But how is excessive calorie intake associated with memory loss?
According to Time’s Alexandra Sifferlin:
It’s unclear why the amount of calories we consume may affect memory, but some scientists theorize that excessive calorie intake may stimulate stress proteins in the brain, which may contribute to memory loss.
Since the study only looked at calorie intake, researchers say the next step will be look at the types of food people consume.
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