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Study: Refined Carbs Might Be Making You Dumb


Your favorite coffee shop pastry might be making you dumb.

A new study out of France this month linked consumption of refined carbohydrates with lower cognitive function.

In their paper published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, French researchers studied the relationship between carb consumption and cognitive performance in 95 healthy young adults between 20 and 30. Of the 95 participants, 48 were women, and 47 were men.

The French team of scientists found negative impacts on cognition across both genders. The consumption of foods with a high glycemic index, mainly refined carbohydrates such as white bread and many ultra-processed foods, “is associated to a decrease of cognitive performance.” Individuals’ cognitive performances were measured by the Wechsler’s digit symbol substitution test.

The French research is far from the only recent study to find a significant relationship between diet and brain health. Last year, another study from Brazil surveying nearly 11,000 adults found a correlation between an ultra-processed diet and lower cognitive function.

In January, scientists at Montreal’s McGill University found a link between obesity and Alzheimer’s disease. For their paper, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers examined the patterns of grey matter atrophy present among obese people and patients with Alzheimer’s.

“Our study strengthens previous literature pointing to obesity as a significant factor in [Alzheimer’s Disease] by showing that cortical thinning might be one of the potential risk mechanisms,” said Filip Morys, a Ph.D. researcher and lead author of the study. “Our results highlight the importance of decreasing weight in obese and overweight individuals in mid-life, to decrease the subsequent risk of neurodegeneration and dementia.”

While directly contributing to obesity, ultra-processed diets are also found to be directly associated with depressive symptoms and shorter lifespans.

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