Can’t remember the last time you hit the gym or had a healthy, balanced meal? Could be it’s not just a coincidence.
University of Cambridge researchers have found that overweight people have poorer episodic memory — the ability to recall past events — than their normal-weight peers.
The findings, published in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, add to increasing evidence of a link between memory, obesity, and overeating.
The researchers suggest their work suggests excess body weight may be associated with changes to the structure and function of the brain and its ability to perform certain cognitive tasks optimally.
In particular, obesity has been linked with dysfunction of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory and learning, and of the frontal lobe, the part of the brain involved in decision making, problem solving, and emotions.
"Understanding what drives our consumption and how we instinctively regulate our eating behavior is becoming more and more important given the rise of obesity in society," said Dr. Lucy Cheke. "We know that to some extent hunger and satiety are driven by the balance of hormones in our bodies and brains, but psychological factors also play an important role — we tend to eat more when distracted by television or working, and perhaps to 'comfort eat' when we are sad, for example.