Hold Off On the Cookies to Save Your Memory

Most of us know desserts aren’t great for our bodies. As it turns out, a new study has found that the trans fats present in many desserts and other packaged foods are also bad for the brain. Researchers presented the study at an American Heart Association conference, and the findings may cause even die-hard junk food fans to give their eating habits a second thought.

  • The study looked at 690 young and middle-aged men. The men who reported eating the most trans fats scored the worst on memory tests—they remembered around 10% fewer words on a memory test than men who consumed the least amount of trans fats. In other words, one of the researchers stated, “Trans fats increase the shelf life of the food but reduce the shelf life of the person.”

The findings have not yet been peer-reviewed, and are therefore considered preliminary. But at least one expert—Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health—said they make sense. Trans fats can disrupt basic cell functions and penetrate every cell in the body. Nevertheless, the government still allows food manufactures to label their products as “trans fat-free,” even if they contain some trans fat (less than half a gram). So, if you want to be sure that the bag of snack-size cookies (or other packaged product) you’re about to dig into is truly free of these memory-mangling fats, make sure that the ingredient list doesn’t include anything that is “partially hydrogenated.”

Source: USA Today

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