Health & Fitness

The docs: What does fat and sugar do to your brain?

Grampa Simpson once said, “You know, you remind me of a poem I can’t remember.” He has something in common with the late actress Patty Duke, who once said, “I can’t tell you what I had for breakfast, but I can sing every single word of rock and roll.” Ah memory! Fickle for sure.

But you can protect your memory -- and remember every word of rock and roll -- if you take care of your brain. And that means staying at a healthy weight. A new study out of the U.K. shows that kids who are overweight or obese have damaged episodic memory; they are less able to recall past episodes of their life. And we know that overweight adults are at increased risk for dementia, the ultimate memory loss.

Close to 30 percent of kids and 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese. If, as the evidence suggests, excess weight results in cognitive deficits, that means most Americans are or will become cognitively impaired. That’s horrifying. So what can you do to make sure you’re not in that number?

--Keep sugary drinks out of the hands of your children, and out of your hands too.

--Read ingredients labels and stay away from any added sugars and syrups.

--Eliminate all trans fats and most saturated fats from your diet.

--Eat 5-9 servings daily of fruits and veggies.

--Walk 10,000 steps a day (no excuses).

If you remember to do all that, you’ll continue to remember (and love) your rock ‘n’ roll!

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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