Men With Beer Bellies And Women With Muffin Tops Have Smaller Brains, Says Study

A lot has been said about the detrimental effects that weight can have on a person's health, but it seems as though it could also impact your brain.

A new study from Loughborough University, according to the Mirror, suggests that blokes with beer bellies and women with what's known as 'muffin-tops' (where excess weight overhangs their midsection and sides) have lower brain volume compared with lighter people.

Professor Mark Hamer from the university said: "This will need further research, but someday measuring BMI and waist-to-hip ratio may help ­determine brain health.

"Existing research has linked brain shrinkage to memory decline and a higher risk of dementia.

"But research on whether extra body fat is protective or detrimental to brain size has been inconclusive. We found obesity, specifically around the middle, may be linked with brain shrinkage."

After studying nearly 10,000 people, they found there was a correlation with gut size and brain volume. Credit: PA
After studying nearly 10,000 people, they found there was a correlation with gut size and brain volume. Credit: PA

The study collected data from close to 10,000 people, including their body mass index and hip-to-waist ratio. The participants all underwent MRI scans to see whether there was a correlation between the size on their bodies and their brains.

Obviously, like Prof Hamer said, the subject needs to be researched in more depth before anything definitive can be said but the results are interesting.

The last few years have certainly seen an uptake in #CleanEating mantras with foods pumped full of sugar or unnecessary calories getting the flick (thanks a lot Jamie Oliver). But not all nutritional advice has gone down well with the public.

Take, for example, the suggestion made by Professor Eric Rimm from Harvard University's nutrition department which was to abstain from eating more than six chips in one sitting.


That's barely even half a potato.

See? Everyone loves chips. Credit: PA
See? Everyone loves chips. Credit: PA

The nutrition expert described chips as 'starch bombs' (has he heard of a chip buttie?) and we should limit ourselves to six in a serving if we want to avoid heart disease.

Speaking to the New York Times, he commented: "I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six French fries."

Nice!? That's not the word we'd use to describe it.

Of course, it's nice that this dude is looking out for our health, but surely at this point we know chips aren't great for us. The humble potato is one of the lowest ranking vegetables in terms of nutrients and when you take away the skin, cover and fry it in oil, and then lather it in ketchup or curry sauce, you've basically got a heart palpitation on a plate.

BUT they are delicious and perhaps the question should be regarding quality, not quantity. As the report pointed out, Rimm's curious idea follows research that suggested that those who avoid chips entirely live six months longer on average, and that people who eat chips two or three times a week had higher risks of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

So maybe just cutting down the amount of times we eat chips rather than torturing ourselves three to four times a week with a plate of disappointment is a more solid idea.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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