Summary: Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, especially when it comes to maintaining good cognitive health. Researchers have found that skipping breakfast increases the risk of cognitive decline in middle to old age, and that maintaining a temporal distribution of energy consumption throughout the day can help protect cognitive health.
Source: Higher Education Press
Worldwide, approximately 55 million people suffer from dementia, and the rate of the disease is steadily increasing. The population is expected to triple by 2050, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Dementia affects not only the quality of life of individuals, but also increases the economic burden on families and society.
Epidemiological studies have shown a correlation between the temporal distribution of energy consumption during the day (TPEI) and the risk of various chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. However, evidence regarding the relationship between TPEI and cognitive function at the population level is relatively lacking.
Previous studies in animal models have shown that mealtime disruption alters circadian rhythms in the hippocampus and thus impairs cognitive function.
According to a short-term intervention trial of 96 young adults, dividing equal amounts of food into four meals between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. improved cognitive function compared to eating two meals between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. However, longitudinal research on TPEIs and cognitive function is lacking.
Recently, Dr. Changzheng Yuan and Dongmei Yu published a paper at Zhejiang University. Metabolism of life “Temporary energy intake and cognitive function and its decline: a community-based cohort study in China.”
Based on the population database of the China Nutrition and Health Survey (CHNS), a total of 3,342 middle-aged and elderly (mean age 62 years) participants from nine provinces in China with an initial age ≥ 55 years were included in this study.
The researchers used: 1) a data-driven ki-means algorithm to identify six patterns of TPEIs, “equally distributed” pattern, “breakfast-dominant” pattern, “lunch-dominant” pattern, “dinner-dominant” pattern, “snack-rich” pattern; design and “skip breakfast” design;
2) Cognitive function was assessed by the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS-m), consisting of immediate and delayed verbal recall (20 points), backward counting (2 points), and the Serial-7 subtraction test (5 points). The total global cognitive score ranges from 0 to 27, with a higher score representing better cognitive function;
3) the association of TPEIs with cognitive function over 10 years was assessed using linear mixed models (LMMs) that adjusted for age, gender, residence, total energy, physical activity, smoking status, alcohol consumption, family income, education level; and body mass index (BMI).
The results showed that, compared to those with a “balanced-distributed” pattern, long-term cognitive function scores were significantly lower in those with unbalanced TPEIs, especially those with “breakfast skipping.”
Thus, maintaining a balanced TPEIs has a positive effect on cognitive health, whereas skipping breakfast significantly increases the risk of cognitive decline in middle-aged and older adults. In conclusion, this study demonstrates the importance of TPEIs for better cognitive function.
So nutrition and cognitive research news
Author: Shukin H
Source: Higher Education Press
Contact: Shuqin He – Higher Education Press
Image: The image is in the public domain.
Preliminary study: Open Access.
“Intermittent energy intake and cognitive function and its decline: a community-based cohort study in China.” by Changzheng Yuan et al. Metabolism of life
Intermittent energy intake and cognitive function and its decline: a community-based cohort study in China.
Globally, about 55 million people had advanced dementia in 2019, which is expected to triple by 2050, especially in low- and middle-income countries, where lack of timely diagnosis and limited effective treatment for dementia make it important to identify risk factors for early prevention. Nutritional factors have received more attention.