Memory mangling food

Some discoveries made by humanity have been astounding, evolutionary, and incredibly positive. The invention of the anklet sock and dande-soy-ccinos for instance are just two discoveries which mark human beings as a seriously aspirational species. However, along the path to our amazing future, there have been a few less than positive creations; coloured popcorn and the notion of a “B-grade celebrity” spring to mind. Right there, weighing in on the negative side of the scale would have to be trans fats, and now a new study has added another reason to the list of why you don’t want to eat too many of these things.

The study involved more than 700 men aged 20 and over. The subjects all completed questionnaires to establish their dietary intake of trans fats and then undertook tests to measure their memory capacity. The tests involved being shown a series of 104 cards with words on them and for each card the subjects had to say if they had seen the word before or if this was the first time it had been shown to them.

The results showed that for men under 45 eating more trans fats was linked to a significantly worse performance on the memory tests.

Those who ate the most trans fats remembered an average 11 fewer words (around 10 per cent less) than the men who ate the least trans fats.

The researchers think this is because trans fats have an oxidative effect in the brain and the sad thing is they seem to be damaging memory even when men are in the prime of their life. Trans fats have been linked in previous research to heart disease, mood changes, and higher bodyweight. With the weight of all this concern of course food companies are rushing to eradicate trans fats…well, maybe not. Some companies are reducing trans fat usage but the thing about trans fats is that they make a product stable and prolong its shelf life. They are found in many processed foods including fast foods, baked goods, snacks, frozen foods like pizza, and some margarines. Check any packaged food to make sure it does not contain trans fats if you want to avoid them, and you do want to avoid them as surely as you want to avoid that flimsy (on all levels) magazine that is telling you why a “D-grade celebrity” wants to train his ferrets to dance.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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