Overeating could double the risk of memory loss in old age, according to a new US study.
People over 70 who consume between 2,000 and 6,000 calories a day are at much greater risk of "mild cognitive impairment," researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., said Sunday.
They studied the eating habits of 1,233 people aged 70 to 89, who did not have dementia, and found that 163 participants developed memory problems -- with the odds doubling among the volunteers that consumed the most calories.
"We observed a dose-response pattern, which simply means the higher the amount of calories consumed each day, the higher the risk of mild cognitive impairment," study author Dr. Yonas Geda said. "Cutting calories and eating foods that make up a healthy diet may be a simpler way to prevent memory loss as we age."
The findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 64th Annual Meeting in New Orleans in April.
Mild cognitive impairment is the phase of mental decline that falls somewhere between normal age-related forgetfulness and the more pronounced decline of dementia.