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Another Reason to Avoid Trans Fats: They Can Shrink Your Brain

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Another Reason to Avoid Trans Fats: They Can Shrink Your Brain

If you need another reason to reduce your trans fat intake, here it is: a recent study suggests that trans fats may actually shrink your brain.

If you need another reason to reduce your trans fat intake, here it is: a recent study suggests that trans fats may actually shrink your brain, according to news sources. It’s well known that trans fats raise cholesterol levels and increase inflammation and atherosclerosis, but the news about trans fats and brain health raises a new concern. The brain shrinkage seen in the study was similar to that seen in those with Alzheimer’s disease. Conversely, those with higher levels of vitamins E, D, C, and the B vitamins were healthier and had larger brains. Trans fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are fats that have extra hydrogen. They occur naturally in very small quantities in some foods, such as dairy and meat. However, our main source of hydrogenated oils is not natural—many processed foods are made with artificial trans fats because these types of fats increase the shelf life of products. Foods to watch out for are

  • margarine
  • shortening
  • baked good
  • artificial coffee creamers
  • processed food such as chips and crackers
  • prepackaged frozen foods, take-out, fried food, and fast food

Words to watch out for in ingredient lists are “hydrogenated” and “partially hydrogenated,” but your best bet is to stick to unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. It’s important to remember that not all fats are badessential fatty acids such as omega-3s are essential for optimal health (including brain health) and are all too often lacking in the typical North American diet.

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