It’s easy to accept that junk food causes obesity, inflammation, and damages organs (kidneys, liver, and other body parts involved in the digestive system). Junk food has not generally been linked to damage in brain functions. However, a study conducted at the University of New South Wales in Australia, associates high-fat and high-sugar diets with damage in the brain. Margaret Morris, the research author, says that impaired memory skills and inflamed hippocampuses were observed in rats fed with food high in fats and sugar.

What surprised the researchers was the fact that significant brain damage resulted in just one week of junk-food diet. Two groups of rats were observed: the first group was fed with junk, while the second group was fed with healthy food. The first group failed at a memory test of finding objects. The second group had no problem with the test. Researchers then reversed the junk diet to healthy food. The memory function of the rats did not improve with the switch. The study suggests that junk food causes brain functions to deteriorate fast, and that the damage is irreversible.

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Morris says that these findings are very alarming, especially in application to humans. It emphasizes the importance of proper nutrition, especially to children whose brains are developing, and to senior individuals whose brain functions are declining with age. The study suggests that removing junk from our diets will benefit people of any age by preventing brain deterioration.