In the wake of FDA finalizing its determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs)the primary food manufacturing source of trans fatsare not GRAS for foods (food and beverages manufacturers three years to remove them entirely from food products), a new study linked trans fat with worse memory, specifically word recall, in young adults (PLOS ONE. June 17, 2015).
The researchers analyzed cross-sectional data from the 1999 to 2005 UCSD Statin Study. Participants were 1,018 adult men and non-procreative women age ages 20 and older without diagnosed diabetes, cardiovascular disease or extreme low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Primary analyses focused on men, as only men (n=694) were effectively represented in younger adult ages.
An age-by-dietary trans fatty acid interaction was significant. Trans fat adversely predicted memory in younger adults (only), robust to adjustment model. Each gram per day of trans fatty acids was associated with an estimated 0.76 fewer words recalled, which is approximately 12 fewer words. Adjustment for systolic blood pressure, waist circumference and BMI, but not lipid or glycemic variables, attenuated the relationship, consistent with mediation by factors involving, relating to or concurrently influencing, these factors.
The researchers concluded that greater trans fat consumption was significantly associated with worse word recall in younger adults.