Trans Fats and Memory Loss

Trans- fats shown to cause memory loss in young men

The new research found that consuming larger amounts of trans-fats led to poorer memory in men aged 45 and younger.

It showed that men whose diets contained the highest levels of the fats were likely to recall 12 fewer words in a memory test than those who avoided them.

…On average, men aged 45 and younger were able to recall 86 words in the tests. But for each additional gram of trans-fat they consumed each day, their performance reduced by a statistical 0.76 words.

More links:

Study: A Fat to Forget: Trans Fat Consumption and Memory

See also: what are trans fats?

Among the foods that commonly contain trans fats: frostings, pie crusts, biscuits, microwave popcorn, coffee creamers, frozen pizza, refrigerated dough, vegetable shortenings and stick margarines. The fats help give a more solid texture and richness to certain foods, like baked goods and ready-to-eat frostings.

It might be a good idea to check the ingredients on mass-produced pastries and snack food, fast food, fried food, and anything that says “partially hydrogenated” in it…

Good thing I eat exactly none of those. Given what you said about your diet Josh, you probably don’t eat any of those to a significant degree either.


I agree with Josh’s initial post.

Margarine spread and its derivatives is probably the worst food
in any given supermarket, due to their tremendous ratio of trans-fats.
Potato chips are equally worse, not only they have trans-fats but also acrylamide.

My diet isn’t as strict as before, but I still avoid anything that I know has transfats.

Is that in all types of fried potatoes? I have had fries a couple of times in the past few months. It would be good to have another reason to avoid them. :slight_smile:


Not all potato types. Hard-boiled potatoes are totally safe. And in my opinion, whole hard-boiled potatoes (cooked in boiling water and not oil) are the best complex carbohydrates out there. Especially their skin (for extra fiber). They have so many natural B-complex vitamins. I find hard-boiled mashed potatoes healthier, even than brown rice/bread or any given type of spaghetti.

In Greece we have a traditional potato-based dish called ‘skordalia’ which is mainly made from mashed (skinless) hard-boiled potatoes along with crushed walnuts, minced garlic, (all mashed/minced and raw), served with added raw extra virgin olive oil, and/or (red wine) vinegar and squeezed fresh lemon juice. Only the potatoes are boiled, the rest of the ingredients are raw and totally healthy, with minimum trans-fats. You can google search ‘Skordalia’, you may find that it is a very interesting and healthy potato-based dish.

On the other hand, it’s bad to demonize an entire food category like potato French fries, since there are always different hygiene and cooking parameters in every different kitchen. A few clean homemade potato french fries (cooked with an appropriate frying oil, like sunflower oil) will not do much harm, in small quantities. I’d definitely even eat french fries, if I was hungry and there were no other option available. Therefore it’s not potatoes to blame, but the way you cook them.

Because the stuff of french fries they serve in McDonalds, are made for longer fridged shelf-life and they are definitely a thing to avoid in the long term. Though, that does not mean that I’ll never eat french fries again. I just treat them as pure junk food due to:

  1. Low nutritional value, 2. High trans-fats, 3. Bad ratio of Omega fatty acids 4.Acrylamide caused by frying (and baking as well)
    But okay, 200 or 300 calories per week from junk food, won’t cause much damage, granted that the rest of the calories will be highly-nutritional.

Many people reading this, may know that there is a new condition in western diets, called ‘orthorexia nervosa’ (or having to eat ‘right’ all the time). Imo, the cure to beat orthorexia, is to throw a few junk food in our systems every now and then, so that the immune systems will have to work harder, be stronger, and also to gain immunity from any type of allergies. It’s like taking poison microdoses (for acquiring immunity) or leaving a few germs lurking around, in order to battle the hygiene hypothesis and make the immune system invincible.

Good advice. I’ve considered that I might have some tendencies towards orthorexia, but outside of my occasional food elimination experiments, I’m reasonably flexible. I don’t get extremely strict with it outside of 3-6 months at a time, and I usually have positive health benefits from it.

I avoid fast food chains like McDonald’s. I think the food quality is pretty low (e.g., pink slime, ammonia). I’d eat fries from another place occasionally though – maybe I’m doing it only once every two months at the moment.

I hate fast food, so that won’t be much of a problem to me luckily. All I get from the Mc Donalds or Burger King sometimes is a cup of coffee when I have to wait for my train. The coffee I drink without any milk, creamer, sugar or whatever, just pure coffee (the Mc Donalds one is gross though… but well, keeps you warm on a cold, dark winter’s night). A bigger problem to me will be pizza… but for now I’ll hide behind the fact that the research only said it had a negative effect on men, so I’ll be eating pizza in front of all of you and make you jealous!

Soon the Olympics must accept us as a sport though… We got special techniques, training routines, and even diets and injuries! Mnemonic topsports.

So far i have found 3 reasons why trans fats can occur.

  1. Hardening of oils to make margarine.

  2. A by-product in ruminants after a process (biohydrogenation) in the rumen.

  3. [According to the german wiki] cis unsaturated fatty acids (55%-80% of olive oil) are turning into trans fats after cooked above 130 °C. Which basically means dont use liquid vegetable oil for cooking and baking and would also explain the listed products above.

In my latest eating experiments, I eliminated all refined oils. Fat intake for the past two months has been from nuts, seeds, and avocados. Seems okay so far.