Trans-Fats and Aggression: Or, What You Eat Affects Your Mood

Did you know that consuming trans-fats are associated with aggression?

I recently found this not-so-recent study (published over two years ago) and it totally piqued my interest. I mean, we already know that trans-fats are bad for you, health-wise. But bad for your mood? That was completely new to me.

This is just an observational study so we can’t draw a cause-and-effect relationship from it. There are of course some huge ethical issues with doing an actual randomized trial on human volunteers–I mean, hello, trans-fats cause a laundry list of issues, so we can’t tell some people to eat more and some to eat less. Ethics committees would be all over that stuff. However, it was a large-scale study and there is a plausible biological reason to link these ideas: the authors claim that trans-fats inhibit production omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce aggression.

The authors statistically significant relationships between trans-fat intake and aggression and between trans-fats and depression. This study looked at irritability, impatience, and conflict tactics in addition to two scales for aggression. That is significant, and I don’t mean that in the statistical sense of the word. All of those things are important factors to think about when you are interacting with other people. I know it is now the middle of the semester for many people, so it is prime-time for teachers to assign group projects–nothing makes the average person irritated like group projects. Why add to the stress? Cut out trans-fats.

While I know that this isn’t a proven causal relationship, I think this study makes for yet another reason to not eat industrial trans-fats. Nobody wants to be a grumpy-pants. It makes group projects seem worse. It gets in the way of friends, fun, and genuine enjoyment. It takes away the simple joy of eating real, fresh food or steals the pleasure of an easy drive through the county (imagine missing the scenery because you are fuming over the guy in front of you–oh, oops, that sounds like someone I know. *Ahem*).

So, can the Crisco. Forget the fries (at least things fried in the evil fat). Say “Adieu,” to Oreos. But most of all, be happy, be patient, be calm.

 Do you have a favorite way of dealing with irritation or impatience? Did this idea shock your socks off like it did mine? Drop a line in the comments!

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