Putting on the extra kilos not only transforms your belly, but also alters your brain, suggested a recent study. The University of Cambridge research revealed that overweight young adults may have poorer episodic memory, the ability to recall past events, than their peers.
This adds to increasing evidence of a link between memory and overeating. Researchers also found an association between high body mass index (BMI) and poorer performance on a test of episodic memory.
‘Overweight young adults may have poorer episodic memory, the ability to recall past events, than their peers.’
Although only a small study, its results support existing findings that excess body weight may be associated with changes to the structure and function of the brain and its ability to perform certain cognitive tasks optimally.
In particular, obesity has been linked with dysfunction of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory and learning, and of the frontal lobe, the part of the brain involved in decision making, problem solving and emotions, suggesting that it might also affect memory. However, evidence for memory impairment in obesity is currently limited.
"Understanding what drives our consumption and how we instinctively regulate our eating behavior is becoming more and more important given the rise of obesity in society," says researcher Lucy Cheke.
Co-author Jon Simons said, "By recognizing and addressing these psychological factors head-on, not only can we come to understand obesity better, but we may enable the creation of interventions that can make a real difference to health and well-being."
The study is published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.