Study Links Consumption of Trans Fats to Irritability, Aggression

French fries
French fries

Adding to the long list of why trans fats aren't good for you, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine scientists have linked the consumption of dietary trans fatty acids to increases in aggression and irritability. The study, the researchers say, is the first to make the connection.

Researchers analyzed the habits of 945 adult men and women, considering a number of dietary and lifestyle baseline factors to determine whether eating foods high in trans fats affected their moods. Subjects were asked about their history of aggression, conflict resolution methods and "self-rated impatience and irritability" and filled out an "'overt aggression scale that tallies recent aggressive behaviors."

After analyzing the data, lead researcher Dr. Beatrice Golomb and her team 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."

If the research bears out, and the link is cause-and-effect, the researchers suggest it is yet one more reason why we should not eat foods high in trans fats and should not serve such foods in settings like schools and prisons, "since the detrimental effects of trans fats may extend beyond the person who consumes them to affect others." If not for your own health, then, cutting back on trans fats might be for the greater good of the colleagues, friends, family and pets who otherwise would be subject to your increasingly aggressive and irritable behavior.

The study was published this month in the journal PLoS One.


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