Want to Improve Your Memory? Eat Less.

Significantly less – thirty percent less.


Let’s see. If you are a 50 year old woman who is 5 feet 5 inches tall and somewhat active, you will need 1750 calories per day to maintain your weight (Mayo Clinic Calorie Calculator). If you want to improve your memory, you should consume no more than 1225 calories per day. That means cutting out 525 calories per day.


Let’s see.


4oz orange juice, ½ plain bagel with low fat cream cheese, coffee (black) = 221


1oz cheddar cheese, one medium size apple, 10 almonds, tea (black) = 375


3 oz canned tuna in water, 1 tsp mayo, 1 slice whole wheat bread, diet soda = 269


1 slice whole wheat bread, 1tbsp low sugar jam, 1 tbsp natural (no sugar or added oil) peanut butter, tea (black) = 190


3 oz roasted chicken breast, 3 carrots, steamed (no dressing), ½ cup brown rice (plain), diet soda = 345


Oops! That equals 1400 calories. Cut out the almonds (170 calories). Now you’ve got 1230 calories! Spit out one bite of apple and you’re home free.


What got me thinking about this? An article in today’s New York Times. It was based on an article published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research participants were 50 healthy men and women with a mean age of 60.5 years, stratified into three groups one of which had the caloric restricts. Verbal memory was measured under (“standardized” conditions – sorry, I read only the abstract) before and after the diet intervention. Those on caloric restriction diets had a significant improvement in memory. The researchers postulate that the increase was due to decreased fasting blood levels of insulin and C-reactive protein.


I have a question. Were their moods assessed for depression and anxiety before and after?


Just what are we trying to do with people?! Attempts at pre-natal intelligence increases. Genotyping and tracking for sports abilities.


I believe in prevention and I believe in a healthy lifestyle. But a person is more than physical health and predetermined abilities. Where are we headed, George Orwell?


BTW – I’m not 5 feet 5 inches tall. I’m not 50 years old and I don’t need 1750 calorie per day to maintain my weight. J  J  Sorry to disappoint those of you who are either following this blog or know me in other capacities.


Mary Lou Bernardo, PhD, MSN


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