Diets high in saturated fats can slow brain function, new research finds.
Saturated fats have a direct effect on the hypothalamus, an area of the brain which is critical for regulating hunger.
Eating saturated fats could, therefore, make it difficult to control your eating habits.
They can make it difficult to control how much you eat, the types of foods you choose to consume and when to stop eating.
Saturated fats are typically found in:
- or fried food.
Unsaturated fats are typically found in:
- or olive oil.
Professors Marianna Crispino and Maria Pina Mollica, two of the study’s authors, said:
“These days, great attention is dedicated to the influence of the diet on people’s wellbeing. Although the effects of high fat diet on metabolism have been widely studied, little is known about the effects on the brain.”
The study on rats compared the effects of feeding them fish oils or a lardy diet over a period of six weeks.
Professors Crispino and Mollica said:
“The difference was very clear and we were amazed to establish the impact of a fatty diet onto the brain.
Our results suggest that being more aware about the type of fat consumed with the diet may reduce the risk of obesity and prevent several metabolic diseases.”
The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience (Viggiano et al., 2016).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Vegetable brain image from Shutterstock