High-fat diet linked to episodic memory loss and Alzheimer’s risk

A diet high in fat can have negative effects on memory after just one day, according to new research by the University of Aberdeen.

The researchers, studying rodent models, found that the more complex a memory is, the greater the risk that it will be compromised by a high-fat diet. The study demonstrates that such a diet causes deficits in episodic, spatial and contextual memory.

Episodic memory (those that provide context, such as ‘what, when, who and where’) is important in humans as it is one of the first types of memory to be compromised in Alzheimer’s disease and deficits in this memory type have been linked to a higher body mass index in young adults.

During the study, mice were tasked with remembering an object, where the object was seen and in which context from a single event. Mice were also tested on spontaneous exploration tasks which test components of episodic memory. It was found that mice on a high fat diet performed significantly worse than those on a low fat diet.

The study’s lead author, Fiona Mclean, said: ‘Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality with no cure and only limited treatment available.’

‘Obesity and type 2 diabetes are positively associated with the development of premature cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, linking diet with these conditions.’

The researchers say the damage can be reversed by switching to a low-fat diet.

  • Wendy

    Bad diet. I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on June 26th, 2017. I started the some diet and followed it 100% for a few weeks and could not get my blood sugar to go below 140. Finally i began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on metformin my whole life and eventually insulin. At that point i knew something wasn’t right and began to do a lot of research. Then I found Lisa’s diabetes story (google ” How Lisa freed diabetes ” ) I read that article from end to end because everything the writer was saying made absolute sense. I started the diet that day and the next week my blood sugar was down to 100 and now i have a fasting blood sugar between Mid 70’s and the 80’s. My doctor took me off the metformin after just three week of being on this lifestyle change. I have lost over 16 pounds and 3+ inches around my waist in a month. The truth is we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods

    • JonathanBagley

      But would Lisa’s method worked for a mouse?

  • JonathanBagley

    Why, bother all those mice? Find some countries where they consume a lot of fat and look at their stats. France, famously, for example; or Austria and Switzerland with their high dairy consumption.

  • Gnome saying?

    Yeah, but what contributes to T2D? It’s hIgh carbs. Wakey-wakey

  • Here be Bod

    Readers may be interested to know a little more detail. I am not a scientist but, on further examination, I think there is a confounding variable present.

    The low-fat group ate a research diet containing 3% by weight ‘Lodex 10’, which is a form of maltodextrin. The high-fat group ate a diet with ‘Lodex 10’ at 16% by weight.

    It is worth noting that maltodextrin has a glycemic index far higher than that of sucrose (table sugar). (For completeness, the low-fat diet contained a lot of sucrose at 33% versus just 9% in the high-fat group).

    Also, the study was limited to fourteen days.

    Thus, even assuming the mouse model is useful for humans (who we already know take weeks to adapt to a high-fat diet), one could argue there is a confounding variable in the significantly greater use of high-GI maltodextrin in the high-fat group (which for info mostly used lard as the source of fat).

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-30265-4 (the published study)
    https://researchdiets.com/formulas/d12450b (low-fat diet composition)
    https://researchdiets.com/formulas/d12492 (high-fat diet composition)