Consuming low-calorie food may have a protective effect against some diseases as the number of calories a person eats directly influences the performance of various cells, researchers say.
The study on mice showed that a low-calorie diet can protect the brain from neuronal cell death associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy and cerebral vascular accident (CVA).
“We are looking at how changes to the diet affect metabolism and how that ends up changing the odds of having diseases associated with aging,” said co-author Alicia Kowaltowski, Professor at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
For the study, presented at FAPESP Week London, taking place on February 11-13, the research team divided mice into two groups.
They calculated the average number of calories the group with no caloric restrictions would eat and then fed the other group 40 per cent fewer calories.
The unhealthy habits of modern-day living with a diet high in calories may cause brain health to deteriorate faster, according to an Australian study published on Thursday.
Compared to 50 years ago, people currently consume an average of around 650 extra kilocalories each day, which is equivalent to a fast-food meal of a burger, fries and a soft drink, said the study’s lead author, Nicolas Cherbuin of the Australian National University (ANU).
“People are eating away at their brain with a really bad fast-food diet and little-to-no exercise,” Cherbuin, who is a professor at the ANU Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, said in a statement.
“We’ve found strong evidence that people’s unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise for sustained periods of time puts them at serious risk of developing type 2 diabetes and significant declines in brain function, such as dementia and brain shrinkage,” he added.
According to the study, 30 per cent of the global adult population is either overweight or obese, and over 10 per cent of the world’s adult population will have type 2 diabetes by 2030, reports Efe news.
The expert pointed out that while the link between this type of diabetes and the deterioration of brain function has long been known, research shows that the loss of neurons and their functions begins “much, much earlier”, indicating “a clear association between this brain deterioration and unhealthy lifestyle choices”.
“People eating too much of the wrong kind of food, particularly fast food, is the other big worry,” according to the expert, who warned that advice for people to reduce their risk of brain problems, including their risk of dementia, begin too late, mostly when people are in their 60s or later.
“The damage done is pretty much irreversible once a person reaches midlife, so we urge everyone to eat healthy and get in shape as early as possible – preferably in childhood but certainly by early adulthood,” Cherbuin said. (IANS)