Developers have been known to work long hours substituting candy bars and cans of soda and/or energy drinks for real food.

New research shows that’s not just bad for your heath it can also impair how your brain functions.

The study, done at Oregon State University, indicates that both a high-fat and a high-sugar diet, compared to a normal diet, cause changes in gut bacteria that appear related to a significant loss of “cognitive flexibility,” or the power to adapt and adjust to changing situations.

“This effect was most serious on the high-sugar diet, which also showed an impairment of early learning for both long-term and short-term memory,” according to the report.

This is not new news, but it confirms earlier research.The findings are consistent with some other studies about the impact of fat and sugar on cognitive function and behavior, and suggest that some of these problems may be linked to alteration of the microbiome – a complex mixture in the digestive system of about 100 trillion microorganisms.

“It’s increasingly clear that our gut bacteria, or microbiota, can communicate with the human brain,” said Kathy Magnusson, a professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine and principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute. “Bacteria can release compounds that act as neurotransmitters, stimulate sensory nerves or the immune system, and affect a wide range of biological functions,” she said. “We’re not sure just what messages are being sent, but we are tracking down the pathways and the effects.”

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