Cutting out unhealthy foods may actually make you a nicer person. New research suggests eating trans fats can lead to aggression and irritability.
WEDNESDAY, Mar. 14, 2012 — We know trans fats are bad for your waistline and your heart, but they may also be messing with your anger management, according to a new study from the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.
Researchers there assessed the behavior of 945 men and women to figure out the connection, if any, between dietary trans fats and feelings of aggression or irritability. Indeed, they found trans fats can lead to fuming tempers.
For those especially prone to road rage, the drive-thru sounds like doubly bad news.
The study, published online in the journal PLoS ONE, is the first to link trans fats and bad behavior toward others.
“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 Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, an associate professor at the UC San Diego Department of Medicine who let the study, in a UCSD press release.
While trans fats exist naturally in certain animal-based foods like meat and whole milk, the source of trans fats in most foods is liquid oils that have been turned into solids like hard margarine and shortening through a process called hydrogenation. Trans fats are often found in processed foods. Top trans-fatty culprits include fried foods, cake mixes, refrigerated dough, and frozen foods.
Many restaurants and food manufacturers have started nixing trans fat from their products and labeling products that contain them. Still, checking labels is the best way to limit your intake. The American Heart Association recommends trans fats intake of less than 1 percent of your total daily calories. Next time you find yourself getting worked up about something silly, take a deep breath and think about how many doughnut holes you ate during that morning meeting. Then hit the gym after work to blow off the extra steam — and burn off the extra calories.
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