A study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Jan 26 has been reviewed in several sources. One was the New York Times. It was a small study but even small studies (especially when they make scientific sense) should at least prompt us to encourage more studies to be done.
Basically, 50 men and women were divided into 3 groups: Group 1 cut calories by 30% (mostly by portion control) Group 2 kept the same calories but increased the intake of unsaturated fats (“healthy fats”) by 20%, and Group 3 had no dietary changes. This was continued over 3 months and the participants were tested on memorizing words. Group 1 showed an average of 20% of improvement and the other 2 groups showed no significant change. This effect has been seen in animals but never in humans. It is believed that the reduced calorie diet may have decreased systemic inflammation therefore helping brain function. An effect we see quite regularly. It has been shown that persons who are overweight are at higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.