To find that out, researchers would have to follow the same people over time and record changes in body weight and brain volume.
No significant differences were found in white matter brain volume.
"Existing research has linked brain shrinkage".More news: Knicks and Kings reportedly talking Enes Kanter-Zach Randolph trade
Researchers from Loughborough University and University College London discovered that people with a high body mass index (BMI) and high waist-to-hip ratio had brains that were 12 cubic cms smaller than people of a healthy weight.
About 500 participants with a high BMI but not a high waist-to-hip ratio also had an average amount of grey matter.
Links were also found between obesity and shrinkage in specific regions of the brain.
Grey matter contains most of the nerve cells, and includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing, hearing, memory, speech, decision making, self-control etc.More news: News Nash retires from National Hockey League after 15 seasons
The study looked at 9,652 people with an average age of 55, and used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to work out brain volumes. Because the study only analyzed body fat and brain images at a single point in time for all of the participants, it's also possible that the reverse effect could be occurring, and that brain changes are responsible for changing eating habits and satiety and therefore driving the increase in body fat. Meanwhile, 3,025 people with overall healthy scores had an average gray matter volume of 798 cubic centimeters.
They then measured the participants' waist-to-hip ratio, determined by dividing waist circumference by hip circumference. "One particularly interesting finding is that, among individuals with obesity, those with greater waist to hip ratio (a marker of visceral fat around the abdomen), showed even lower gray matter volume", Bohon said. Low-carb diets might be best for maintaining weight loss, study says Because the cause of a connection between brain volume and obesity is still unclear, perhaps something may be causing both, she wrote: "For example, if there are nutritional factors impacting brain volume, these same nutritional factors could be a direct cause of obesity". In the end they found that high BMI linked to smaller brain volume.
"Our research looked at a large group of people and found obesity, specifically around the middle, may be linked with brain shrinkage".More news: Ashley Judd's sexual harassment claim against Harvey Weinstein dismissed