A small study found that overweight people have a poorer ability to remember past experiences than the thin ones. The significant difference in the memory could even have an effect in overeating.
Higher Body Mass Index (BMI) was associated by researchers with a significantly lower performance in a memory test called what-where-when, in which the tested had to answer about where an object was hidden, what was it and when, according to the study published in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Fifty people with a BMI ranging from 18 (which is qualified as healthy) to 52 (very obese) and between 18 to 35 years old were tested with the treasure-hunt-like game.
Obese people scored 15 % lower than the others with healthy BMI. However, others aspects of the memory, like general knowledge and long-term memory, remained impaired in other tests.
“The suggestion we are making is that a higher BMI is having some reduction on the vividness of memory, but they are not drawing blanks and having amnesia,” told Dr. Lucy Cheke, from the University of Cambridge to BBC.
What does eating have to do with the episodic memory?
Dr. Cheke said that if overweight people have a less strong memory of a recent meal, with less strong impact in the mind, they may also have less ability to regulate how much they eat later on.
This means that the person could be lead to overeating due to the fact he or she has poorly memory and does not vividly remember the last eaten meal. Hunger hormones play a huge role in how much a person eats, but is already recognised that the mind has an important role too.
Previously, there have been studies that showed that people who watches TV while eating are more likely to eat more or feel hungrier sooner than those who do not. Those with amnesia also with having repeated meals in a short period of time, as reported by BBC.
It is still too early to talk in terms of advice, said Dr. Cheke, but they are certainly beginning to observe the mechanisms that obesity perpetuates itself. Concentrating while eating has been an advice for a long time, but the recent study showed that maybe overweight people have more difficulties in that area.