British researchers discovered less grey matter in obese people, suggesting their brain had shrunk.

Those of us with beer bellies and love handles are at an increased risk of developing dementia, it is claimed.

If someone is both obese and apple-shaped – carrying more weight around their middle than on their hips – a study has found they have a smaller brain.

British researchers discovered less grey matter in these people, suggesting their brain had shrunk. This shrinkage raises the risk of memory loss and dementia in older age.

Researchers led by Loughborough University looked at more than 9,600 individuals aged 40 to 69, measuring their waist and hips as well as their body mass index.

Those with a high waist-to-hip ratio can be men with beer bellies or women with ‘muffin tops’ who have slimmer hips compared to their abdomen. Obese people with this body type had 1.5 per cent smaller brains than those of healthy weight, the study found.

Experts think fat could prompt the immune system to overreact and damage the brain, causing it to shrink. But becoming obese and apple-shaped may also be a ‘red flag’ that someone is at risk of memory loss.

Dr Mark Hamer of Loughborough University, said: ‘While our study found obesity, especially around the middle, was associated with lower grey matter brain volumes, it’s unclear if abnormalities in brain structure lead to obesity or if obesity leads to these changes in the brain.’

© Daily Mail