Junk Food May Lead to Dementia

Aug 31, 2012 09:40 AM EDT | By Sharon Robinson

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Junk food
Not so Happy Meal: Junk food may lead to dementia. (Photo : flickr.com/happymealy)

Advocates of healthy eating and nutritionists have another reason to say no to junk food: Dementia.

A recent study claims that junk food could be bad for your memory, and may lead to dementia, and trigger Alzheimer's. Junk food is already linked with obesity and diabetes, especially in the U.S. 

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Too much junk food leads to an increase in the secretion of insulin, a hormone. A decrease in the ability of cells to respond to high levels of insulin is likely to affect the brain, leading to dementia.

The study was published in the journal New Scientist, by researchers at Brown University.

Health advocates have always been against the consumption of junk food. But, ever since New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to take a stance against junk food, more people have been trying to convince others to decrease their intake of high calorie food.

Junk food, especially burgers, fries and sodas, have long been touted to be the major cause of obesity in the US. A third of the people are overweight, with another third being obese. Children make up the majority of those obese.

Lately, schools have been trying to bring down the amount of junk food sold in school lunchrooms, with new school lunch programs. A recent study on the effect of junk food laws on school children has revealed some positive results. Though states, which try to reduce the intake of junk food are generally referred to as "nanny states" the curb of junk food in schools have led to a slight decline in childhood obesity.

However, rising food prices are likely to drive people to eating more junk food. Moreover, healthy food is generally regarded as more expensive than junk food. As a result, even those on food stamps have been found to choose soda and burgers over fruits and vegetables.

Better monitoring of school lunchrooms and food stamp use is required, if the country wants to see a significant decrease in junk food consumption.

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