A recent study by the Aging Research Center, Sweden has shown yet another great reason to shed excess fat and get fit an healthy. Begin overweight or obese from midlife can increase your risk of dementia.
Researchers were able to use the Swedish Twin Registry to analyse records for 8,500 twins going back 50 years. The Registry was establish in 1961 and is the largest twin registry in the world. It was originally established to analyse the effects of smoking on health, and consequently tracks the hight and weight of each twin over time.
Using this data, researchers compared the weight levels of those twins when they were around 43 years old to dementia rates when they were around 65 years old. The result; Being overweight or obese at midlife does increase the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Vascular Dementia (the second most common form of dementia).
A Paleo Perspective
This evidence is interesting as many in the Paleo community see obesity as a symptom and not a cause. The argument is that carbohydrates are the major cause of obesity, and therefore, also increase the risk of dementia.
A useful analogy is 8500 people, half are well and healthy, the other half are dead from food poisoning. If we studied all 8500 we could conclude a high instance of vomiting & diarrhea amongst the dead shortly before they died.
Therefore, it’s like concluding from the evidence that vomiting and diarrhea increase the risk of death. Rather than a more helpful verdict that vomiting, diarrhea and death are all symptoms of eating contaminated food. I.e Avoid contaminated food, and your less likely get any of those symptoms.
The Good News
The good news is, this is one more reasons to stay motivated to lose weight or stay lean. Eating a diet lower in carbohydrates combined with healthy exercise is a great way to lose weight and be fit. Being leaner can increase your chances of preventing dementia in older age.