A new study has found that excess belly fat could probably shrink the size of your brain. The grey matter in the brain contains most of the brain’s 100 billion nerve cells whereas the white matter contains nerve fibres that connect the brain regions. The researchers at Loughborough University conducted the study where they evaluated the body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio of 9,652 middle-aged people.
After this, the participants' MRI scan was also conducted to measure the volume of their brain. The researchers evaluated factors like age, physical activity, smoking and high blood pressure, all of which could reduce the volume of grey matter in the brain. It was found that people who had a BMI of 30 or higher and a high waist-to-hip ratio had the lowest amount of grey matter volume at 786 cubic centimetres. Whereas people with good overall health had an average grey matter volume of 798 cubic centimetres.
While excess weight showed no connection to the white matter present in the brain, it was associated with shrinkage of a few areas like the pallidum, nucleus accumbens, putamen and caudate. And what's worse is that all these areas play an important role in the feelings of motivation and reward. So, if you're on the heavier side, maybe now is a good time to start working out. After all, healthy body equals a healthy mind.