Trans Fat May Weaken Memory for Men
t wasn't unexpected when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned trans fat earlier this week and the bad effects of the food additive keep piling up. New findings from the University of California, San Diego suggest that trans fats may be linked to a weakening of memory in young men.
For their study, researchers had 1,010 men and women ages 20 to 85 complete questionnaires in which they reported what they normally ate. The researchers then examined the nutritional content of the foods from the questionnaires. Then they gave the participants a memory test, including word recall.
The results showed that on average, men ages 45 and younger were able to recall 86 words, but with each additional gram of trans fat consumed on a daily basis, their memory performance decreased by 0.76 words. That’s about a 21-word recall reduction by men who consumed about 28 grams of trans fat per day compared with men who ate the least.
The focus was on male memory as the number of women in the study in the same age group was too small to draw meaningful conclusions.
While the exact mechanism of how memory is affected by trans fat is still unclear, one potential theory is that trans fats act as a stressor on cells, which affect memory and mental functions. Additionally, trans fats have been shown to promote inflammation, which can contribute to memory problems.
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