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Originally published December 10 2008

Study Shows High Fat Meals Cause Memory Decline

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Heating meals high in fat can trigger and worsen the memory decline associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a study on diabetics conducted by researchers from the Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit at Baycrest and published in the journal Nutrition Research.

It is well known that high-fat foods can increase concentrations of free radicals in the body. These oxidizing molecules cause cell damage and are associated with various symptoms of aging, including cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. Because diabetics are known to be particularly susceptible to chronic oxidative stress, researchers carried out a study on 16 Type 2 diabetes patients over the age of 49.

The participants were fed three different meals, one at each of three different weekly sessions. A control meal consisted of only water, while the high-fat meal consisted of a danish with cheddar cheese, yogurt and whipped cream. The third meal contained the same food as the high-fat meal, plus a 1,000 milligram tablet of vitamin C and an 800 IU tablet of vitamin E.

Vitamin C and E are antioxidants, which remove free radicals from the body.

Starting 15 minutes after the beginning of each meal, participants were tested on their ability to remember words and other information that they had heard or read, for a total of 90 minutes. Those who had eaten the high-fat meal scored significantly worse both immediately and 90 minutes after the meal than those in the water or high-fat-plus-vitamins groups.

No memory decline was observed in the vitamin group.

"Our bottom line is that consuming unhealthy meals for those with diabetes can temporarily ... worsen already underlying memory problems," lead author Michael Herman Chui said. "We've shown that antioxidant vitamins can minimize oxidative stress from the meal and reduce those immediate memory deficits."

But the researchers emphasized that people should not rely on vitamin pills to make up for unhealthy habits.

"While our study looked at the pill form of antioxidants, we would ultimately want individuals to consume healthier foods high in antioxidants, like fruits and vegetables," researcher Carol Greenwood said.

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