Lots of studies have indicated the health benefits of eating certain foods. Now research is showing avoiding some common foods is important for health as well.

New research from the Mayo Clinic indicates eating carbohydrates and sugar when older my raise the risk of cognitive impairment.

People 70 and older who eat food high in carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, the researchers have found. Those who consume a lot of protein and fat relative to carbohydrates are less likely to become cognitively impaired.

Researchers tracked 1,230 people ages 70 to 89 who provided information on what they ate during the previous year. At that time, their cognitive function was evaluated by an expert panel of physicians, nurses and neuropsychologists.

Of those participants, only the roughly 940 who showed no signs of cognitive impairment were asked to return for follow-up evaluations of their cognitive function.

About four years into the study, 200 of those 940 were beginning to show mild cognitive impairment, problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.

Among the results:

• Those who reported the highest carbohydrate intake at the beginning of the study were 1.9 times likelier to develop mild cognitive impairment than those with the lowest intake of carbohydrates.

• Participants with the highest sugar intake were 1.5 times likelier to experience mild cognitive impairment than those with the lowest levels.

• Those whose diets were highest in fat-compared to the lowest-were 42 percent less likely to face cognitive impairment, and those who had the highest intake of protein had a reduced risk of 21 percent.

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