Trans Fat Maybe, Kind of Linked to Aggression

Processed FoodA new study from the journal PLoS ONEΒ claimsΒ trans fats might be linked to aggressive behaviors. And now a collective, “I knew it!”

First of all, New York knew it first, by banning trans fats ages ago, as did some other countries. Secondly, this doesn’t mean you can go on a rude spree and then get a free pass.

Trans fatty acids are among the really-bad-for-you unsaturated fats group found in processed foods, and have been hotly contested over the years. It is used to make crappy foods last longer on the shelf!

The new study says trans fats affect more than your cholesterol, but that it might explain your prolonged depression, leading to angry outbursts.Β “This study provides the first evidence linking dietary trans fatty acids with behavioural irritability and aggression,” according to the study by Dr. Beatrice Golomb of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, et al.

Really, this study is not citing causation, but more a correlation between erratic behaviors and one’s diet, falling once again into that hard-to-pinpoint grey area where food probably, most likely influences our behaviors and health, but can’t really be diagnosed. Someday, doctors will be able to tell patients, seriously, your potato chip habit is making you sad, here’s a leafy green, and all will be forgiven.

Other factors like age, sex, alcohol consumption, education and exercise were also considered. Additionally, the study shows “a significant association to behaviors that have unfavorable repercussions to others,” or in other words, this study was more consistent to predicting aggression than other “recognized predictors.” But significance does not necessarily equal proven.

PLoS ONE’s study does, however, make this conclusion:

“If the association is determined to be causal, then the detrimental effects of trans fats may extend beyond the person who consumes them to affect others with whom that person interacts. Should that prove to be the case, the inclusion of synthetic trans fats in diets may bear reexamination – with implications to public policy and regulation.”

Going one step further, CBC News quoted Dr. Golomb as saying:

“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.”

Oh, you want to regulate trans fats? Like, as in, have the FDA take a stance on foods that are bad for us? I see. Best of luck.

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons,Β danorth1

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