What your waistline is doing to your gray matter

In your younger days, you may have been a hunk, a hunk of burning love... but if wolfing down too many peanut butter and banana sandwiches has turned your "hunk" to "chunk," you may have a big problem brewing.

I've shared the connection between obesity, diabetes, and dementia with you in the past -- but the latest science shows that it's worse than we thought.

According to a study published in Diabetologia, the combination of obesity and type 2 diabetes puts you at risk of MAJOR brain damage.

And that's something that can steal not only your precious memories... but also your independence.

Researchers in Korea already knew that the brain can be affected not only by obesity, but also by the inflammation and lack of sugar level control that comes with type 2 diabetes.

But what they wanted to find out was what obesity and type 2 diabetes combined does to your brain's structure and cognitive function.

After all, if you're obese, you're likely to develop diabetes... and if you've got diabetes, you're likely to be packing on some extra pounds.

The researchers examined 150 men and women between ages 30 and 60 and divided them three groups: overweight or obese people with type 2 diabetes, healthy weight people with type 2 diabetes, and healthy weight people who didn't have type 2 diabetes.

They gave participants MRIs and tested them on their memory, physical movement, and executive function/decision making skills.

The obese and overweight diabetics showed a significant decline in brain function, as compared to those at a healthy weight -- even if they had diabetes.

But the proof was in the pudding, so to speak. In folks who had the "double whammy" of both conditions, their grey matter showed significant PHYSICAL damage in the areas that control speech, hearing, vision, sense of touch, understanding of language, memory, movement, personality, and behavior.

That doesn't leave much behind.

Fortunately, since these two conditions go hand-in-hand, one way that you can cut your risk of type 2 diabetes in half is by losing 7 to 10 percent of your body weight.

That means losing 14 to 20 lbs. if you weigh 200... or 20 to 30 lbs. if you weigh 300.

You don't have to lose it all at once. It could take as long as a year to gradually come off. And all it takes is three small changes to make a big difference:

  1. Start moving -- exercise of any kind moves insulin through your body, and just 30 minutes of walking a day will cut your risk of diabetes by almost a third!
  2. Go Paleo and channel your inner "caveman." You can enjoy fish, meat, eggs and dairy, as well as plenty of nuts, vegetables, and fruit.
  3. Ban processed foods, sugary drinks, and trans fats from your plate.