Most people know the health risks obesity can cause, but a recent study found that eating more than the daily recommended number of calories can significantly increase the risk of memory loss or mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in people over the age of 70.
The study, released recently by the American Academy of Neurology, found that people who consume between 2,100 and 6,000 calories per day may double their risk of memory loss of MCI, the stage between normal memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.
The scientists noted a dose-response pattern, they reported. The higher the number of calories each day, the higher the risk of MCI, according to study author Dr. Yonas E. Geda, of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and member of the American Academy of Neurology.
"Cutting calories and eating foods that make up a healthy diet may be a simpler way to prevent memory loss as we age," said Geda.
In the study, scientists looked at 1,233 people without dementia between the ages of 70 and 89, with 163 diagnosed with MCI. After filling out a questionnaire, the participants were separated into three groups based on their caloric intake. The group with the highest number of calories consumed each day had higher odds of developing MCI even after the results were controlled for history of stroke, diabetes, education and other factors.