Apart from health reasons, another motivation to lose weight is that for older women, it can improve your memory. A new study has found that losing weight has an impact on brain activity, specifically the region that controls memory.
The study was carried out by Umea University in Sweden, after previous studies had shown the overweight people have worse episodic memory, which The Telegraph reports is the ability to remember events. What is groundbreaking is that rather than losing these memories altogether, you can reclaim them.
“Our findings suggest that obesity-associated impairments in memory function are reversible, adding incentive for weight loss,” said lead author Andreas Pettersson, M.D., a PhD student at Umea University, in a statement.
Scientists studied 20 overweight, post-menopausal women with an average age of 61, who were randomly assigned to one of two healthy diets for six months. Nine women used the Paleolithic diet or the Caveman diet, which was composed of 30 percent protein; 30 percent carbohydrates, or "carbs"; and 40 percent unsaturated fats. The other 11 women followed the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations of a diet containing 15 percent protein, 55 percent carbs and 30 percent fats.
They measured the women's body mass index before and after the diet, and also tested the subjects' episodic memory by having them memorise unknown pairs of faces and names, then recall later on what letter each person's name began with.
Researchers found that memory performance improved after weight loss, and brain scans confirmed that the women had grown more adept at storing and recalling memories.
Dr Pettersson, who presented his findings at The Endocrine Society's annual meeting in San Francisco, revealed the science behind the findings. "The altered brain activity after weight loss suggests that the brain becomes more active while storing new memories and therefore needs fewer brain resources to recollect stored information.
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