Did you ever have one of those aha moments, you know when something you have often wondered about suddenly becomes crystal clear, when all the pieces finally fall into place, when you want to smack yourself upside the head and scream, “but of course”?
I had such an epiphany recently when reading about a new study in which researchers claim to have found a link between belly fat and brain shrinkage.
If you have ever spent time in a bar, chances are you have probably suspected a connection between belt-buckle overhang and fatheadedness existed. Now there appears to be research to support this inkling.
Although the study was extensive, its findings were not deemed to be conclusive at this point. So, more work to be done. It also left many questions unanswered:
Is belly-triggered brain shrinkage permanent?
Does a loss of belly fat lead to an increase in brain size?
And what of proportion? Does the quantity of belly fat correspond to the amount of downsizing going on upstairs?
Then, too, there is the matter of whether the brain yo-yos back and forth as one gains and loses girth. If this were to be the case, it would go a long way in explaining why wide swaths of the population seem to be dumb as a stump immediately following the holidays.
One thing the study did find was a linkage between paunch and shrinkage of specific regions of the brain. While it did not dwell on this aspect, I think it is probably safe to assume that the part of the brain that deals with will power in general, and chocolate in particular, would be involved here.
While the study, in my view, is overly cautious about drawing an unassailable relationship between waist and wasting, my gut reaction is that there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to conclude the link is rock solid.
One need only spend time observing beer bellies bellying up to a bar to see the study’s validity.
What better explanation for:
Lengthy conversations in which patrons take turns repeating themselves for hours on end.
Arguments in which neither side has any idea what he or she is talking about, particularly when it comes to politics and women.
Such bizarre behaviors as eating pickled eggs from a jug on the bar, confessing the most intimate details of one’s life to the stranger serving you drinks, and, most notably, karaoke.
And then there is the tendency to find things hysterically funny which, in fact, are not even mildly amusing. In this regard I point to the joke:
Horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, “Why the long face?” Do thin people ever laugh at this?
Booze, bellies and brain shrinkage does, of course, bring to mind the fatherly advice Faber College’s Dean Wormer once offered to a student named Flounder.
“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life …”
This has always seemed to be sound advice, but in light of the study, perhaps it was a bit harsh.
If there is, in fact, a relationship between belly fat and brain dimensions I wonder how it might alter certain preconceived notions, particularly when it comes to fitness fanatics?
Up until now those who spend large portions of their lives in a relentless pursuit of six pack abs have never been associated with having an overabundance of gray matter.
Now, who knows?
Who would have ever guessed that situps might make you smarter?