Overeating May Be Hurting Your Memory
Written by: Justin Cowart
We have all heard about the risks and concerns of drinking alcohol or using other intoxicants and then being unable to remember past events clearly, but now scientists are realizing that overeating may also harm your memory.
I think one of the biggest things I have overused in my life is food. When I am stressed, bored or even tired, I find myself wandering to the fridge. With the recent discoveries about cheese and how addictive it is, I am starting to realize that on some level, food has been my drug of choice for many years.
The Link Between Overeating/Being Overweight And Having Poor Memory
According to a new study by researchers from the University of Cambridge, overweight younger adults may have poorer episodic memory – the ability to recall past events – than their peers. This data adds to the increasing evidence of there being a strong link between overeating and memory.
Although this study was done on a small scale, its results help to strongly support already existing findings about how excess body weight may actually be associated with changes to the function and even structure of the brain and its inherent ability to perform certain cognitive tasks at optimal efficiency.
Obesity has been linked with the dysfunction of the hippocampus in particular – which is an area of the brain that is involved with learning and memory – and of the frontal lobe – another part of the brain that is strongly involved in the ability to make decisions, feel emotions and even problem solve. This strongly suggests that it might also affect memory; however, the evidence for memory impairment in obesity is currently very limited.
As of right now, about 60% of UK adults tend to be obese or overweight and unfortunately this number is strongly predicted to rise all the way to approximately 70% by the year 2034.
Did you know that the reason obesity is such a huge issue is because it increases the risk of physical health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes, not to mention psychological health problems, such as anxiety and depression?
Dr. Lucy Cheke says that,
“Understanding what drives our consumption and how we instinctively regulate our eating behaviour is becoming more and more important, given the rise of obesity in society.
“We know that to some extent hunger and satiety are driven by the balance of hormones in our bodies and brains, but psychological factors also play an important role – we tend to eat more when distracted by television or working, and perhaps to ‘comfort eat’ when we are sad, for example,”
says Dr. Lucy Cheke, and continues by adding that,
“Increasingly, we’re beginning to see that memory – especially episodic memory, the kind where you mentally relive a past event – is also important. How vividly we remember a recent meal, for example today’s lunch, can make a difference to how hungry we feel and how much we are likely to reach out for that tasty chocolate bar later on.”
From the results of this study, it seems to strongly suggest that if you are in a mindset or the kind of space where you feel the need to overeat, then you are placing yourself in not just physical danger, but mental danger as well.
How To Stop Overeating
I have found that one of the best ways to control my overeating is with mindfulness or vipassana meditation, where I learn to observe my actions and stop reacting to cravings.
We have also compiled a list of 9 other awesome tips to help you reduce your overeating and bring balance back into your life.
Let us know in the comments below what you have found that helps you maintain control over your eating habits!
Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
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