Skip to the main content.
Find Channel


Find Channel

1 min read

Study: Eating junk food as a kid can lead to memory loss

California - Most Americans know junk food isn’t healthy. Turns out, it can also make you forgetful.

A new study by researchers at the University of Southern California found that a high fat, high sugar diet during childhood and adolescence (when the brain is still developing) caused long lasting memory issues in rats. Previous research in animals has shown that junk food impairs the hippocampus, an area critical for memory in humans as well as rats.

In this most recent study, researchers came to their conclusion after feeding juvenile and adolescent rats either a “cafeteria-style” meal or “standard healthy chow” option.

High-fat, high-sugar chow, potato chips, chocolate-covered peanut butter cups and high-fructose corn syrup comprised the cafeteria-style option. Experts consider those foods disrupters to the functioning of the hippocampus; a region of the brain that's particularly vulnerable to early life dietary choices.

Only standard chow and water were available to the control group of rats. Behavioral and metabolic tests were performed both before and after a healthy diet intervention period beginning at early adulthood.

Even after the experimental groups were switched to a healthy diet in adulthood, their memory deficiencies persisted, suggesting potentially long-lasting damage to the brain, according to the study.

Drugs Work

Researchers did discover, in another phase of their research, that the administration of two drugs — PNU-282987 and carbachol — directly into the hippocampus restored the rats’ memory.

In humans, carbachol is primarily used in the treatment of glaucoma, but it is also used during ophthalmic surgery.

Have a News Tip for Us?

Reach out and share your story with us.

Contact Us