How saturated fats can lead to dementia

It's called junk food for a reason and when you fill your belly with junk, you could end up with junk in your brain.

And that, in turn, can lead directly to cognitive decline, dementia and even Alzheimer's disease.

In this case, "brain junk" starts out as a protein called amyloid beta. When left alone in your brain, amyloid beta can turn into the plaques that mark dementia.

Fortunately, amyloid beta isn't usually left alone in the brain. In fact, your body has a pretty ingenious way of dealing with this stuff.

Think of a bouncer in an exclusive nightclub. The bouncer is a chemical called apolipoprotein E, or ApoE, and it literally attaches itself to the troublemaking amyloid beta proteins and escorts it out before it can turn into those brain-robbing plaques.

Not a bad security team to have on your side, right?

But new research shows how eating saturated fats can cause your ApoE levels to plunge -- leaving your brain without its bouncers, and allowing the amyloid beta proteins to go wild and form the plaques that can ultimately wreck the joint.

It doesn't take much, either. In the new study, just a single month of a diet high in fats in general and saturated fats in particular caused ApoE levels to plunge.

And if that's what just one month of a junk-food diet will do, imagine what too much saturated fat for years or even decades will do to your ApoE levels. It helps explain why poor diet has been linked time and again to dementia, and why junk-food eaters in particular often have a higher risk of the disease.

If there's any good news here, it's that it's not too late to take the action needed to protect your brain, boost your ApoE level and slash your risk of dementia.

All you have to do is eat better.

Limit your saturated fat intake -- and make sure that whatever saturated fats you do get (because you do need some) come from fresh and natural sources, not junk food.

For more on protecting yourself from dementia -- including a natural diet low in saturated fat that's proven to protect the brain -- read this free report.

And for more on how NOT to diet, keep reading.