Counting calories may do more than just help shrink your waistline. A new study from Mayo Clinic suggests that eating too much may double the risk for memory loss in people age 70 and older.
“We observed a dose-response pattern which simply means; the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of mild cognitive impairment,” said study author Yonas E. Geda, M.D., MSc, a neurologist and psychiatrist with Mayo Clinic in Arizona. He noted that 2,143 calories per day may double the risk of memory loss.
MCI is the stage between normal memory loss that comes with aging and early Alzheimer’s disease. The odds of having MCI more than doubled for people in the highest calorie-consuming group compared with people in the lowest calorie-consuming group. The results were the same after adjusting for history of stroke, diabetes, amount of education and other factors that can affect risk of memory loss.
“Cutting calories and eating foods that make up a healthy diet may be a simpler way to prevent memory loss as we age,” Geda says. After all, “what’s good for your heart is good for your brain.”