Could fast food cause dementia? Yes, according to a recently published study. The researches argue that the unhealthiness of fast food coupled with a lack of exercises could cause dementia.
The list of diseases caused by fast food is getting longer. A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology has found the fast food could cause dementia. Dementia represents all the diseases that diminish the functions of the brain (also called cognitive functions). More and more frequent with age, one in three people are at risk of suffering from the disease after the age of 85.
The Australian researchers found that on average people consume about 650 calories more every day today than what we used to a mere 50 years ago. This increase in calorie intake, according to the researchers, has been linked to brain deterioration. “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,” says the lead author of the study, Nicolas Cherbuin of the Australian National University.
Fast food satisfies an essential need of our modern and super-active society: eating fast. The dishes served very quickly, the ability to take the food home, even without leaving one’s vehicle, meets the expectations of a suractive and hurried clientele. However, in recent years fast foods have been linked to an increasing number of diseases.
It is well known that the food offered in fast food restaurants is too sweet, too salty, too oily and contains additives. These four elements explain why fast foods are so bad for one’s health. Less known than the others, the additives are especially bad for health; they have been found to be carcinogenic in some forms. Their massive use in fast food chains to keep the taste, freshness and appearance is behind, according to scientists, the many health problems facing people in the western world.
Moreover, these foods have too high an energy content. It is this aspect that causes obesity and is at least partially guilty of rising cases worldwide. On its own, a meal at fast food almost meets the nutritional needs of a day. And than this caloric abundance, burgers, fries, pizzas and sodas are sorely lacking in vitamins, calcium and key nutrients.
According to Nicolas Cherbuin, the effects of fast food on the brain is permanent. “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,” he told explains. “Many people who have dementia and other signs of cognitive dysfunction, including shrinking brains, have increased their risk throughout life by eating too much bad food and not exercising enough.”
In the United States, at least 5 million people currently live with age-related dementias. In 2013, there were approximately 44.4 million people with dementia worldwide. This number will increase to 75.6 million in 2030 and 135.5 million in 2050. Older people are the most affected.
The increase in cases of dementia will occur mainly in developing countries. Already, 62% of people with dementia live in developing countries, but in 2050, this proportion will increase to 71%. The fastest growth among seniors will be in China, India and South Asia, as well as their neighbors in the western Pacific.