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9 Foods That Cause Memory Loss

A study finding has found that trans fats may play havoc with your memory and also increase your cholesterol levels. The researchers found younger men who consumed high levels of trans fat performed more poorly in a memory test. The study showed that young men who ate 16 g of trans fat as a part of their daily diet recalled 12 words or more correctly. And men who consumed 28 g of trans fat every day recalled about 12 words or less [1] .

A similar study has also shown that women who ate the most saturated fats from foods like butter and red meat performed poorly in memory and thinking tests than women who ate the lowest amount of these fats [2] .

Unhealthy fats like saturated fat and trans fat increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and speed up the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. These sticky protein clusters accumulate and form plaques which lead to Alzheimer's disease.

These fats also slow down the body's production of omega-3 fatty acids, which play a crucial role in proper functioning of the brain.

Is Alzheimer's Disease The Only Cause Of Memory Loss?

Foods That Cause Memory Loss

1. Cakes, pies and cookies

Cakes, pies and cookies, which contain frosting, shortening, and margarine, are full of trans fat. Studies have shown that the increased intake of trans fat elevates the risk of Alzheimer's disease, cognitive decline, poor memory, and low brain volume [3] . So avoid having pies, cookies and cakes from stores. Instead, make your own home-made cakes and pies to satiate your cravings.

2. Popcorn

Butter-flavoured popcorn or normal popcorn contains high amounts of saturated fat. About 28 g of butter-flavoured popcorn contains 2.5 g saturated fat, while 32 g of caramel flavoured popcorn contains 1.5 g saturated fat. Popcorn contains diacetyl, a chemical that increases amyloid plaques in the brain that have been linked to Alzheimer's disease [4] .

3. French fries

100 g of French fries are loaded with 0.1 g of trans fat and 2.3 g of saturated fat. Increased consumption of French fries leads to Alzheimer's disease and a decline in cognitive function [5] . Instead, you can make French fries at home. Try out this home-made French fries recipe.

4. Pizza

Pizzas, especially with lots of pepperoni, sausage, bacon or beef on them, contain both trans fat and saturated fat. 100 g of pizza contains 0.2 g trans fat and 4.5 g saturated fat. According to the American Heart Association, meat and dairy products have small amounts of naturally occurring trans fat. Instead, you can try this healthy home-made pizza recipe.

5. Sugary drinks

A high intake of sugary drinks like sports drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, and soda has a negative impact on your brain and increases type 2 diabetes risk [6] . Also, high sugar levels in the blood increase the risk of dementia, in people without diabetes [7] .

6. Refined carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates have a high glycemic index (GI) which means that your body digests it quickly, causing a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels. A research study has shown that a single meal with a high glycemic index can impair memory in both adults and children [8] .

7. Alcohol

Moderate alcohol drinking results in a reduction in brain volume and disrupts the neurotransmitters. According to a study published in The BMJ, moderate alcohol consumption which they defined as 6 to 9 drinks per week damages the brain, which also includes hippocampal atrophy [9] .

8. Processed meat

Processed meat, which includes smoked turkey, bacon, sausages, etc., contain nitrosamines, which cause the liver to produce fats that are harmful to the brain. A study has shown that processed meats are linked to lower scores in memory and learning [10] .

9. Processed cheese

Processed cheese like mozzarella sticks, American cheese, etc., cause a build-up of amyloid proteins in the brain that has been associated with Alzheimer's disease.

How Much Trans Fat Can You Consume In A Day

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that less than 1 per cent of your total caloric intake should come from trans fat. The AHA also recommends not having foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and instead recommends lean meats, which contain less of saturated and trans fats. Replace unhealthy fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

View Article References
  1. [1] Golomb, B. A., & Bui, A. K. (2015). A Fat to Forget: Trans Fat Consumption and Memory.PloS one,10(6), e0128129.
  2. [2] Brigham and Women's Hospital. (2012, May 18). With fat: What's good or bad for the heart, may be the same for the brain.ScienceDaily.
  3. [3] Barnard, N. D., Bunner, A. E., & Agarwal, U. (2014). Saturated and trans fats and dementia: a systematic review.Neurobiology of aging,35, S65-S73.
  4. [4] More, S. S., Vartak, A. P., & Vince, R. (2012). The butter flavorant, diacetyl, exacerbates β-amyloid cytotoxicity.Chemical research in toxicology,25(10), 2083-2091.
  5. [5] Reed, B., Villeneuve, S., Mack, W., DeCarli, C., Chui, H. C., & Jagust, W. (2014). Associations between serum cholesterol levels and cerebral amyloidosis.JAMA neurology,71(2), 195-200.
  6. [6] Moreira, P. I. (2013). High-sugar diets, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care,16(4), 440-445.
  7. [7] Crane, P. K., Walker, R., Hubbard, R. A., Li, G., Nathan, D. M., Zheng, H., ... & McCormick, W. (2013). Glucose levels and risk of dementia.New England Journal of Medicine,369(6), 540-548.
  8. [8] Beilharz, J., Maniam, J., & Morris, M. (2015). Diet-induced cognitive deficits: the role of fat and sugar, potential mechanisms and nutritional interventions.Nutrients,7(8), 6719-6738.
  9. [9] Topiwala, A., Allan, C. L., Valkanova, V., Zsoldos, E., Filippini, N., Sexton, C., ... & Kivimäki, M. (2017). Moderate alcohol consumption as risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline: longitudinal cohort study.bmj,357, j2353.
  10. [10] Pearson, K. E., Wadley, V. G., McClure, L. A., Shikany, J. M., Unverzagt, F. W., & Judd, S. E. (2016). Dietary patterns are associated with cognitive function in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort.Journal of nutritional science,5.
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