Mental Health Disorders

Could A Diet Rich in Trans Fats Impair Memory?

Individuals that consume high amounts of trans fats perform worse on cognition and memory tests, according to a recent study.

In order to better understand the effects of prooxidants found in foods with trans fats on cognitive decline, researchers evaluated a group of 1018 healthy adults without heart disease. Of the 1018, 694 were men ages 20 years and older, and the remaining adults were postmenopausal women.

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Investigators estimated the trans fat consumption of participants based on questionnaires disclosing information on their diets. The memory performance of participants was assessed in a test utilizing 104 flashcards. Participants were asked whether they had already viewed the cards as they were shown to them, or if it was their first time seeing them.  

The study showed an association between high trans fat consumption and poor cognitive performance on the word memory tests for men below 45 years of age. After investigators adjusted for variables such as education, ethnicity, depression, and age, they still noted a high association.

Further, researchers discovered that for each additional trans fat gram consumed every day, an estimated 0.76 fewer words were recalled by participants. Among those who consumed the highest trans fat content, 10% (11) fewer words recalled. According to researchers, 86 was the mean number of words correctly recalled by individuals.

Investigators noted that when they included postmenopausal women in an additional analysis, the results were the same which suggest that both men and women are negatively impacted by high trans fat consumption.

The complete study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014 in Chicago, IL.

-Michelle Canales


1. Golumb BA, Bui AK. 15572-Trans fat consumption is adversely linked to memory in working-age adults. Paper Presented at: the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014; November 15-19, 2014; Chicago, IL.!/3547/presentation/41164. Accessed November 20, 2014.