An Evolutionary Perspective on Why Food Overconsumption Impairs Cognition


Next, we will discuss an evolutionary perspective on why excessive consumption of food impairs cognition. Neural networks in brain regions critical for space navigation and decision making evolved. In this way, they have given way to success in the competition for the limited availability of food in dangerous environments.

This being the case, it is worth noting that an important ecological factor that drove the evolution of cognition, namely, the scarcity of food, has been largely eliminated from the daily experiences of today’s humans and domesticated animals. In this way, the continuous availability and consumption of energy-rich foods in today’s relatively sedentary humans adversely affect the cognitive trajectories of the lives of parents and their children.

In this way, the epigenetic modifications of molecular DNA and chromatin protein are affected by energy intake and can spread to future generations.

Harmful mechanisms

Now, it is necessary to emphasize that the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which intermittent food deprivation improves cognition and overfeeding harms cognition are being elucidated.

In this way, for a better understanding of the food-centered evolutionary fundamentals of the neuroplasticity of the human brain, it is leading to the development of new eating and exercise patterns based on bioenergetic challenges aimed at improving cognitive health and resistance.

And clearly, the brain structures and neural networks that mediate space navigation, decision making, sociality and creativity evolved, in part, to allow success in the acquisition of food. Consequently, it is to indicate the evidence that suggests that the reason why the excessive consumption of energy-rich foods has a negative impact on cognition is that the signaling pathways that evolved to adaptively respond to food shortages they are relatively disconnected in the context of continuous food availability. Obesity affects cognition and increases the risk of some psychiatric disorders and dementia. In addition, maternal and paternal obesity predispose children to poor cognitive results by molecular epigenetic mechanisms.

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Source: Cell Press

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