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Poor Eating Habits Can Damage Your Brain

Science By
Person undergoing a CAT scan in hospital. PET scan equipment. (Getty Images)
Person undergoing a CAT scan in hospital. PET scan equipment. (Getty Images)


For every doughnut, Big Mac, or slice of pizza you eat, you’re certainly not helping your next waistline. But one psychological study says you could be hurting your brain, too.

That’s according to psychologist Terry Davidson, director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at American University in Washington, D.C. Apparently, the more junk food you eat, the worse off the part of your brain is that stimulates memory and keeps you from eating more of the same crap.

Somewhat ironically, Davidson’s test subjects were some of the world’s biggest junk food addicts: rats. The focus was on the rats’ hippocampus, or the part of the brain where memories are stored. Davidson found that rats with a damaged hippocampus would pick up and nibble away at food more often. In short, they were unable to discern whether or not they were full—and were constantly “snacking.” Davidson notes that this is basically what happens to someone’s brain who continually stuffs themselves full of junk food. 

This Is your brain on doughnuts (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)


Davidson’s study is just one of several that have pointed to bad dietary choices affecting the brain. A Cambridge University study concluded that there was evidence that the more obese you are, the more it wears on your brain. And a University of Arizona study showed that the higher your body mass is, the more it inflames regions of your body such as your brain. 

For more on how your poor dietary choices affect your brain, click here. Read Davidson’s original study here.

—RealClearLife Staff