Cutting calories may help healthy older adults remember more, according to a new study published in yesterday's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This new research from German scientists involved 50 normal or overweight adults who averaged 60 years of age. Some of these adults were instructed to eat 30 percent fewer calories, while another group ate 20 percent fewer calories. A third group made no changes to their diet.
In addition to tracking their dietary intake, all participants also completed verbal memory tests at the start and end of the study.
After three months of calorie restriction, people who ate 30 percent fewer calories saw an average improvement of 20 percent in their verbal memory test scores.
In contrast, no significant changes in memory were seen other two other groups.
Previous studies in animals have shown that diets low in calories and rich in unsaturated fatty acids - found in olive oil and fish - are beneficial to brain function.
This is the first study of this nature to show the positive effect of calorie restriction on memory in humans.
So what does 30 percent fewer calories look like? If the average adult consumes 2,000 calories per day, that means eating 600 fewer calories every day - roughly the equivalent of 3 cups (750 ml) of pasta or two commercially-prepared muffins.
For more information on how you can eat to improve your health, check out nutrition counseling with Leslie Beck, RD.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.