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Study: Cheat Meals May Affect the Way Your Brain Functions

Scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia found a diet pattern of ‘clean’ eating interrupted with cheat meals in the form of junk food might impact brain function and gut health in rodents.

During the experiment in a laboratory setting, rats that ate a mostly healthy diet but occasionally had high-sugar and saturated-fat foods showed significant cognitive impairment, especially in tests of spatial memory, and negative changes in gut bacteria.

One of the authors, Mike Kendig, a medical scientist at UNSW, says: “Our analyses indicated that the levels of two bacteria correlated with the extent of the memory impairment. This suggests a link between the effects of diet cycling on cognition and the microbiota.”

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