We all know that a big greasy burger and plate of crispy French fries makes for a delicious but wildly unhealthy meal, but that doesn't always stop people from indulging.
It is common knowledge that the high-calorie, cholesterol-laden meal could increase your likelihood of having a heart attack and even getting certain kinds of cancer. But there's another side effect that you might not be aware of: A Western diet heavy on eggs, meat, sweets and high-fat dairy could dramatically increase the likelihood of Alzheimer's disease, a new study found, according to Munchies.
The Alzheimer's study, from Dr. William Grant at the Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center in San Francisco, California, determined that those who consume typical Western diets have much higher chances of contracting the mentally degenerative disease, compared to those who eat healthier foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, fish and low-fat dairy.
Japan, one of the healthiest eating countries in the world, has seen a major spike in Alzheimer's rates within the last several years, as they include more and more Western food into their diets. In 1985, the rate of Alzheimer's in Japan was just one percent, but as they began shifting away from the healthy, traditional Japanese diet around that time, the rate of contracting Alzheimer's rose to seven percent by 2008.
Grant points largely to meat as the main culprit.
"[R]educing meat consumption could significantly reduce the risk of [Alzheimer's disease] as well as of several cancers, diabetes mellitus type 2, stroke, and, likely, chronic kidney disease," Grant wrote in the study's abstract, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Eggs and high-fat dairy could also be a factor, and Grant said that mixing these with healthier foods will hardly make a difference to counteract the negative effects.
This study is by no means the first time scientists have blamed meat for various medical risks, and other medical researchers have singled out red meat as the most closely connected with developing Alzheimer's. According to one 2013 UCLA study, the high amounts of iron you get from meat build up over time and start decaying the gray matter in your brain and increase the damage caused by harmful free radicals, notes Medical News Today.
At least there's one thing we can all agree on here -- the number one cause of Alzheimer's is aging, so good luck with that one.