Partially hydrogenated oil, the type of oil that has trans fats, was used for decades in packaged foods to increase their shelf life have now been shown to damage memory. In a study conducted by the American Health Association of 690 young and middle-aged men, those who reported eating the most trans fat remembered 11 fewer words out of 104 than those who ate the least.
“Trans fats increase the shelf life of the food but reduce the shelf life of the person,” said Dr. Beatrice Golomb, a professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. “They’re a metabolic poison and that’s not a good thing to be putting into your body,” she said. “They don’t provide anything the body needs.”
Trans fats have also shown a link with obesity, aggression, heart disease and diabetes.
The study also adds to the growing body of evidence that what we eat affects how we think, said Dr. Patrick T. O’Gara, president of the American College of Cardiology. “The supply of nutrients in blood to the brain can actually affect its function.”
While the cause and effect has not been proven, the effect makes sense. “These artificial fats penetrate every cell in the body and can disrupt basic cell functions,” said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Trans fats have been drastically cut since 2006 when manufacturers were required to list trans fats on labels. Most baked goods and margarines, for instance, have been reformulated and now do not carry them. The effect has been a reduction in heart disease and diabetes in areas where they are banned, in particular. But government regulations permit any product with less than half a gram of trans fat to be labeled as trans fat-free. So, there are still products that have them.
The best way to reverse the effect of trans fats is to live as healthy as possible. Foods prepared in a simple manner from fresh ingredients are the most healthful, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Prepackaged crackers, biscuits, cookies, and other high fat, commercial foods, etc., should be avoided for the most part.
“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 81
Nature Knows Best!