Trans Fat Could Impair Memory and Intellect

The Baltimore Sun (via the registration-free Sun-Sentinel) reports that trans fat could impair memory and intellect, according to studies releases at this year’s annual conference of the Society for Neuroscience. Trans fat is created when hydrogen is bubbled through liquid fats, turning them solid (which makes them easier to bake with). However, trans fat both raises your bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers your good cholesterol (HDL) — even saturated fat doesn’t affect the good cholesterol.

Fortunately, the government has mandated the inclusion of trans fat on nutrition labels by 2006. But, you can already avoid most of them today by looking out for “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” on ingredients labels. And, on top of the cholesterol issue, these findings on memory are another good reason to look out for trans fats.

Last year, Granholm fed one group of rats a diet that contained 10 percent hydrogenated coconut oil, a common trans fat. She gave another group the same diet, but replaced the coconut oil with soybean oil, which is not a trans fat.

After six weeks, the animals were tested in a series of mazes. The coconut oil group made far more errors, especially on the tests that required more mental energy.

“The trans fats made memory significantly worse,” said Granholm, who is director of the Center On Aging at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. […]

The article goes on to say that Granholm threw out all the trans fat foods in her fridge after getting her findings. And, I might do the same; but, I’m not sure if I have many trans fat foods around these days. I’ve already switched switched from margarine to butter and even the Lindt 70% Cocoa bar in my cupboard is trans fat free ;).

I’m not quite sure about my protein bars, though — most of them list “fractionated palm kernel oil” among the ingredients in the coating, but I don’t know how much of the bar’s fat goes into the coating. Maybe I’ll have to wait until 2006 for the answer to that one.

3 thoughts on “Trans Fat Could Impair Memory and Intellect

  1. “Trans fat is created when hydrogen is bubbled through liquid fats, turning them solid (which makes them easier to bake with).”

    Best definition I’ve seen of trans fat yet. Thanks.

  2. I started researching about trans fats on perfectly honest I was disgusted with food manufacturers. I stopped buying ANYTHING with trans fats. I started using Rice Bran Oil because it has more antioxidants than olive oil. Now I feel that my system is running better and I now ask restuarants what kind of oil they use. Knowledge is Power.

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