June 26, 2012

Do Trans Fats Cause All Those Angry, Irritable People?

new study by researchers at the University of California at San Diego showed that consumption of dietary trans fatty acids (dTFAs) -- the unsaturated fats found in fried foods and commercially processed products like crackers, cookies and pies -- are associated with people who are angry and irritable.

The UCSD team used baseline dietary information and behavioral assessments of 945 adult men and women to analyze the relationship between dTFAs and aggression or irritability. The survey measured such factors as  history of aggression, conflict tactics, self-rated impatience and irritability. It also uses an “overt aggression” scale that tallies recent aggressive behaviors. Analyses were adjusted for sex, age, education, and use of alcohol or tobacco.

“We found that greater trans fatty acids were significantly associated with greater aggression, and were more consistently predictive of aggression and irritability, across the measures tested, than the other known aggression predictors that were assessed,” said UCSD associate professor and lead researcher Beatrice Golomb. “If the association between trans fats and aggressive behavior proves to be causal, this adds further rationale to recommendations to avoid eating trans fats, or including them in foods provided at institutions like schools and prisons, since the detrimental effects of trans fats may extend beyond the person who consumes them to affect others.”

The study concluded that the association, along with the "biological plausibility" of such an effect of trans fats, made a causal association likely. dTFAs restrict absorbtion of the natural fats which tend to reduce aggressive behaviors and even limit depression risk. Eating regular fats has been associated with serenity.

New York City banned trans fats from its restaurants in 2006. Is it a coincidence that the city's crime rate has dropped dramatically since then?

Maybe there's legitimacy to the "twinkie defense" after all!

Now we need a study of the diet patterns of the Tea Party militants. Maybe that's their problem!

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