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Overeating raises risk of memory loss

A surprising connection to memory loss

We’re just about two months into 2012. And you know what that means…

Those New Year’s resolutions might be faltering just a tad. All I need to do is glance up to see that my “keep all this mail and junk off the kitchen counter” promise is failing miserably.

At least half of my friends made resolutions to lose a few pounds, so I figure there’s a good chance you made the same promise to yourself. If your resolve has been wavering a bit, new research might give you the boost you need.

Research that will be presented this April at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans reveals some very surprising news about how your eating habits now could affect your mind in the future.

It’s surprising because it’s not about what you eat–we already know about the kinds of foods you should cut out to keep your mind sharp–it’s about how much you eat.

That’s right–piling your dinner plate high now could set you up for a weaker mind. Researchers found that eating between 2,100 and 6,000 calories per day could very well double the risk of memory loss or mild cognitive impairment among people aged 70 and up.

That’s a pretty wide range, but their findings were pretty simple: the higher the number of calories you’re eating each day, the higher your risk of cognitive impairment.

Researchers asked 1,233 people aged 70 to 89 (and free of dementia) to report the number of calories they took in each day. Based on this information, they were divided into three groups: 600-1,526 calories per day, 1,526-2,143 calories per day, and 2,143-6,000 calories per day.

People in the highest group had double the risk for mild cognitive impairment compared to people in the lowest group, even when the researchers adjusted for stroke history, diabetes, education, and other factors.

I’m going to guess the people taking in the highest number of calories per day weren’t loading their plates with leafy greens, bright veggies, and omega-3 rich fish. It’s more likely that they were eating the refined sugar and processed carbohydrates that can have devastating effects on the mind.

But at any rate, this study shows that cutting calories could be a way to ensure your mind stays sharp as you age. So, are you feeling a renewed sense of commitment to your New Year’s resolution?

Stick with it–2012 is the year for a new you!