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How Junk Food Might Make You Dumb

You already know that eating junk food won't do your waistline or heart any favors, but according to new BMC Medicine findings, noshing on cookies and burgers is far worse for your health than previously believed.

Researchers from Deakin University and the Australian National University recently discovered that the hippocampus (the part of the brain involved in mental health, learning and memory) is far smaller in people with unhealthy diets. To come to this finding, the research team used MRI machines to measure the size of their subjects' hippocampi and then examined their diets. They took into account any factors that could influence the hippocampus, then cross compared all of the data. Though scientists have known for some time now that diet affects hippocampal size and function in animals, this is the first study to suggest that the same holds true in humans.

But before you freak out, realize that a once-a-month fast food or dessert indulgence won't likely harm your body. However, making junk a cornerstone in your diet, can. To stay on a healthy path — without totally denying your taste buds — check out some these Best Cookies for Your Weight Loss Meal Plan or stock up on some of the Best Flat-Belly Chip Alternatives. And if burgers and fries are your downfall, whip up our Best Ever Burger for Weight Loss instead of heading to the drive-thru.

LOSE UP TO 16 POUNDS IN 14 DAYS by making any of the 150+ simple and delicious weight-loss recipes in the brand-new Zero Belly Cookbook—order it now!

Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh