By John Micheal
Potato chips, French fries, onion rings, ice cream, pancakes… Wait, what are we talking about? A study commissioned by the American Heart Association has found that men who eat more trans fats than their peers may experience a decrease in the performance of their memory.
In the study, 690 adult males completed a survey about their dietary habits, from which researchers estimated their level of trans fat consumption. Then participants were shown a series of cards, each containing a single word. To assess their memory, researchers asked participants whether each word was new, or whether it had already been shown to them.
The study found that men who ate more trans fats on average remembered 10% fewer words than their peers. This correlation remained even after the researchers factored in age, education, ethnicity, and depression.
Generally used to increase the shelf life of foods, trans fats can go for months without rotting. Yet since the 1990s scientific research has demonstrated that trans fats have a negative effect on human health, increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and diabetes.
The recent American Heart Association study further confirms the dangers of trans fat consumption.
“Trans fats were most strongly linked to worse memory, in young and middle-aged men, during their working and career-building years,” said Beatrice A. Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego. “From a health standpoint, transfat consumption has been linked to higher body weight, more aggression and heart disease. As I tell patients, while trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people.”
To avoid trans fats, always check the nutritional information on any item that you purchase. Trans fats also go by the name “partially hydrogenated oils,” so make sure to avoid them as well. Products that generally contain trans fats include store-bought baked goods, deep-fried foods, and non-dairy creamer.
The American Heart Association recommends avoiding trans fats by eating lots of fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, and nuts. Given that trans fats are only found in processed foods, your best bet would be to embrace an all-natural diet like what our Paleolithic ancestors enjoyed.
So the next time you’re at the grocery store, skip the cookies and fried food, and pick up some fresh berries and lean meat.
It’ll be the best decision you’ll remember having made in a long time.