We all recognize that overeating can cause weight gain, but now new research suggests excessive calorie consumption can double the risk of memory loss in older adults.
In a paper presented during the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual meeting, researchers report that consumption of between 2,100 and 6,000 calories per day may double the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), among people age 70 and older.
The finding is significant as MCI is the stage between normal memory loss that comes with aging and early Alzheimer’s disease.
Mayo Clinic investigators discovered the more calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of MCI.
“We observed a dose-response pattern,” said study author Yonas E. Geda, M.D., M.Sc., with the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Researchers followed 1,233 people between the ages of 70 and 89 and free of dementia residing in Olmsted County, Minn. Of those, 163 had MCI. Participants reported the amount of calories they ate or drank in a food questionnaire and were divided into three equal groups based on their daily caloric consumption.
The natural experiment resulted in a group that consumed between 600 and 1,526 calories per day; another group with caloric intake between 1,526 and 2,143 per day; and a third group that devoured between 2,143 and 6,000 calories per day.
Investigators discovered the odds of having MCI more than doubled for those in the highest calorie-consuming group compared to those in the lowest calorie-consuming group.
Researchers found the risk remained after adjusting for history of stroke, diabetes, amount of education, and other factors that can affect risk of memory loss.
There was no significant difference in risk for the middle group.
“Cutting calories and eating foods that make up a healthy diet may be a simpler way to prevent memory loss as we age,” said Geda.
Source: American Academy of Neurology