Fats found in processed food could be harming your memory
A type of fat that boosts foods’ flavouring could be harming the memory of men in their 40s and younger, according to new research.
Trans-fats are used to improve the taste, texture and shelf-life of certain food, but have come under attack in recent years after being linked with an increased risk of heart disease.
Now research suggests the fats - which appear in processed foods like biscuits, French fries and cakes - could also be linked to memory loss.
Research from the University of California found eating large amounts of the fats negatively affected the memory of men aged 45 and under.
In fact, those who ate the highest levels of trans-fats were able to recall 14% less in tests than those who avoided them.
Eating trans-fats has been linked with not only heart disease but also changes in behaviour and mood.
Researcher Dr Beatrice Golomb commented: “As I tell patients, while trans-fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people”.
The researchers looked at data from over 1,000 people who took part in a dietary survey and word recall memory tests.
The recall average for men aged under 45 was 86 words. The study found that for every extra gram of trans-fats a day, the men were able to recall 0.76 less words.
Men who ate high levels of the trans-fats recalled 12 fewer words.
While the results focus on men under 45, it doesn’t rule out effects on other ages and women.
The researchers say that it was only significant for men due to the limited number of women in the same age group taking part in the study.
For older people, the researchers felt that the effect of age on memory was greater than the effect of trans-fats.
A number of countries, including Denmark, have already banned trans-fats as an additive.
The US Food and Drug Administration recently announced plans to remove most trans-fats from American foods within three years