Trans fats linked to memory loss in men
A new study at the University of California, San Diego shows that young to middle-aged men who eat a high amount of trans fats performed the worst on memory tests.
The researchers studied a group of 1,000 healthy people without heart disease, including nearly 700 men aged 20 and over. The remaining participants were postmenopausal women. From questionnaires the participants had completed about their diet, the researchers estimated their trans fat consumption. The participants also underwent assessments of memory performance. They were shown a series of 104 cards with words on them. For each card, they had to say whether they had seen the word before or whether 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 worse performance on the word memory tests. When the researchers repeated their analysis with the full sample including the postmenopausal women, they found similar results, suggesting it is not just men that are affected by the trans fats. Further studies need to be done to see if the effects are the same on working-aged women.
Trans fats are often used to extend the shelf life of foods, such as margarines, fast foods, baked goods, frozen pizzas and snacks.
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