Forget Fat, Improve Memory

Following Tuesday's FDA ruling that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are no longer categorized as "generally recognized as safe," additional research has revealed trans fat consumption could potentially have a negative impact on memory.

Following Tuesday’s FDA ruling that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are no longer categorized as “generally recognized as safe,” additional research has revealed trans fat consumption could potentially have a negative impact on memory.

In the latest study, published online in PLOS ONE, Beatrice Golomb, MD, and Alexis Bui, MD, both of the Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, US, assessed data from dietary surveys and memory tests from 645 healthy men to assess the relationship between dietary trans fatty acid (dTFA) consumption and word-memory.

The memory tests consisted of a set of 104 cards each with a different written word. Participants were encouraged to comment whether the word was new or had been previously shown to them in the set (recurrent words).

In men age 45 and younger, the mean number of words recalled was 86. However, each additional gram of trans fat consumed daily triggered a drop of approximately 0.7 words.

Furthermore, there was a pattern in increased trans fat consumption: men with daily diets of 16 grams of trans fat recalled 12 fewer words correctly and those who consumed nearly 28 grams of trans fat could only remember 21 fewer words.

“Greater dTFA was significantly associated with worse word recall in younger adults. Prooxidant and energetic detriments of dTFA and triangulation with other evidence offer prospects for causality,” the study concluded.

The FDA announced that manufacturers have until June 18,2018 to either reformulate their products without PHOs or petition for exemptions for particular PHO use.