Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reduced Calorie Dieting May Improve Memory in Older Adults

A new report is being publicized by Natural Standard, one which shows how older adults who reduced their calorie intake by 30 percent were able to perform better on memory tests. Because many adults are interested in improved memory function, I felt this was worth mentioning in today's blog.

In published animal studies, scientists found that low-calorie diets rich in unsaturated-fatty acids ( for example, nuts, avocados and olive oil) may be beneficial for brain function. While these studies were performed in aging rats, in this latest study (published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) researchers aimed to determine if these brain effects apply to humans as well. What they found surprised them.

The authors studied 50 older adults whose average age was 60, and whose weight ranged from healthy levels into the overweight category. Three groups were developed; one group reduced their calorie intake by up to 30 percent, the second group increased their unsaturated fatty acids intake by up to 20 percent -- and the third group served as the control and did not change their eating habits.

Memory tests were conducted at the beginning and end of the three-month-long study. These tests showed that verbal memory scores significantly increased (an average of 20 percent by the end of the study) in the reduced-calorie group. These memory improvements were also associated with decreases in insulin levels and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) in the group that had reduced calories. No significant changes were reported in the other two groups.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a colleague with whom I conduct quite a bit of business on the phone. His memory had really gotten bad and it was sometimes annoying to deal with him. All of a sudden, his memory significantly improved. Shortly prior to this memory improvement, he had begun a low calorie diet. This is just anecdotal, but the change was marked.