We’ve got an overeating problem in America.
That’s no big shocker. If you look at portion sizes over the years, they’ve gotten much bigger. And so have we…
Now we usually consider overeating a problem for our waistlines and our hearts…
But, as it turns out overeating might be as bad for your head as it is for your heart.
According to research from neuroscience experts and the brains at Harvard, overeating may be linked to developing memory loss as we age.
And the root? Inflammation.
Like with most theories, the tests start with animals in the lab.
New studies in mice showed a diet lower in calories helped prevent brain inflammation.
These mice couldn’t get the same benefits from exercise. That’s right: calories in was the ticket and not calories burned.
You can’t jog away a pizza. At least, not when it comes to your head.
We’re all pretty familiar with the idea of inflammation harming the gut. But we’re just starting to understand how inflammation affects your brain.
Science is unpacking how memory impairment is related to inflammation in the brain. There are lots of scapegoats for inflammation in the brain and body.
Including, it seems, too much food.
Another study in worms showed that cutting down on the worms’ calories cut down on a particular acid in their bodies.
This acid (with a long scientific name) is a big no-no for the brain because it blocks a brain chemical needed for faster learning and brain activity.
The takeaway? Less of this acid means more of the brain chemical that boosts learning.
Other studies have shown that lower calorie diets in mice, monkeys, and even flies can extend their lifespans by years.
I like a Thanksgiving dinner as much as the next guy, but we need to make sure we don’t eat like it’s the holidays too often.
We need more research, of course. Especially in humans.
But it’s only logical.
Think about the way you feel after a huge meal. Sleepy. Lethargic.
And groggy is not the best state for learning and brain activity, right?
Now, you don’t have to go hungry to stay fit and sharp. There are plenty of nutrient dense, filling and lower calorie foods, especially fruits and veggies.
But here’s a good question to ask yourself: How much food do I really need in a day?
Anyone who has done a calorie or points system kind of diet will tell you they were shocked they did so well with less food.
I’ve talked to other folks who tell me their blood sugar crashes if they don’t eat enough. And that’s probably true. But quality calories are different than calories in general.
How many empty calories are we eating?
Cutting calories goes hand in hand with eating smarter calories.
Grab a whole food snack instead of a boxed one. Favor proteins and healthy fats so you aren’t overdoing the carbs. And stay hydrated.
Hydration is a biggie. We’re often thirsty when we think we’re hungry, and I’ve seen firsthand how proper hydration cuts down on mindless eating.
Staying sharp is key to feeling alive. No cookie is worth that tradeoff.
At least, not every day.
Editor, Patriot Health Alliance