Dietary Trans Fats Linked to Poorer Memory

Higher consumption of dietary trans fatty acids (dTFA), commonly used in processed foods to improve taste, texture and durability, has been linked to worsened memory function in men 45 years old and younger, according to a University of California, San Diego School of Medicine study published online on June 17 in PLOS ONE.

Researchers evaluated data from 1,018 men and women who were asked to complete a dietary survey and memory test involving word recall. On average, men aged 45 and younger recalled 86 words; however, for each additional gram of trans fats consumed daily, performance dropped by 0.76 words. This translates to an expected 12 fewer words recalled by young men with dTFA intake levels matching the highest observed in the study, compared to otherwise similar men consuming no trans fats.


“Trans fats were most strongly linked to worse memory in men during their high productivity years,” said Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, lead author and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Trans fat consumption has previously shown adverse associations to behavior and mood — other pillars of brain function.

Trans fatty acids have been linked to negative effects on lipid profiles, metabolic function, insulin resistance, inflammation and cardiac and general health. In 2013, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a preliminary determination that trans fats were no longer generally recognized as safe.  And the most recent guidelines from the FDA is a complete ban of Trans fats by 2018.

Good  riddance.

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. The original item was written by Yadira Galindo and Scott LaFee. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, Alexis K. Bui. A Fat to Forget: Trans Fat Consumption and Memory. PLOS ONE, 2015; 10 (6): e0128129 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0128129

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