We came up with some tips to stick to those
New Year Resolutions (and we’re reminding ourselves to dust off those Wiis and
bring our running shoes out from the closet!), but this may be an extra push to
help us stay motivated into February. A newly published study in The
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is now linking
calorie-restricted diets with improved memory. This is the first studied
correlation between diet and cognitive function in humans.
Although the study was small (50 people, both men and women age 50 to 72 who ranged normal to overweight), one group cut calories by 30 percent. Wow! Others attempted to increase unsaturated fat intake by 20 percent; the third group made no changes. Aside from dietician assistance, participants monitored themselves over three months before taking memorization tests. The “diet” group, who mainly used smaller portion sizes to restrict calorie intake, averaged a 20 percent improvement in performance. The other groups showed little change.
Dr. Agnes Flöel of the University of Münster in Germany, a neurologist and one of the researchers, suggested the memory increase may be linked to decrease in insulin and inflammation in the group, who on average lost four to seven pounds. Lower insulin levels could improve insulin signaling, she suggested, allowing memories to be maintained longer.
Calorie restriction is being studied in many ways in humans, but studies have been mixed so far about benefits of cognition in humans.
However, we’re encouraged to stick with our resolutions
to make small changes – maybe cut down on that extra 100 calorie snack we don’t
need – and stay active as we push into February!
However, we’re encouraged to stick with our resolutions to make small changes – maybe cut down on that extra 100 calorie snack we don’t need – and stay active as we push into February!