Feb. 26, 2001 – Move over green eggs and ham ? a diet rich in fat, will mess up what?s under your hat, says a study on rats.
U of T researchers at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care have discovered that fat-rich diets are not only bad for your heart, they may also impair essential brain functions like concentration and memory. The researchers compared the cognitive function of rats on a high-fat diet (similar to what humans consume if they do not eat nutritiously) with rats on lower fat laboratory chow. After three months, the rats on the high-fat diet showed severe impairment on a wide range of learning and memory tasks relative to those animals that consumed the lower fat diet. The research also showed that giving glucose to the high-fat rats significantly improved their memory.
?Our brain needs glucose ? essentially energy ? in order to function,? said Professor Carol Greenwood of nutritional sciences and one of the authors of the study that appears in the March issue of the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. ?When glucose metabolism is impeded by saturated fatty acids, it?s like clogging the brain and starving it of energy.?
Interestingly, say the researchers, glucose injections into the high-fat rats seemed to work selectively on the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is critical for normal memory function. ?But we shouldn?t fool ourselves into thinking that glucose from a glass of orange juice is all we need to protect our brains from clogging up from a high-fat diet,? added one of the study?s co-authors, Professor Gordon Winocur of psychology and a senior scientist at Baycrest?s Rotman Research Institute.
The researchers hope these findings will make people reconsider a very popular fad diet that is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates. ?From a cognitive perspective, that?s probably not an ideal diet,? said Greenwood, a scientist at Baycrest?s Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit.
Brain is mostly made of fat and cholesterol. The writer must have not eaten any fat in a long long time.
What do you think?