Food and Behaviour Research

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A Fat to Forget: Trans Fat Consumption and Memory.

Golomb BA, Bui AK (2015) PLoS One.  10(6) e0128129. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128129. eCollection 2015. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here. Free full text of this article is available online



We sought to assess the relation of dietary trans fatty acid (dTFA) consumption to word-memory.


We analyzed cross-sectional data from the 1999-2005 UCSD Statin Study. Participants were 1018 adult men and non-procreative women age ≥20 without diagnosed diabetes, CVD, or extreme LDL-cholesterol. Primary analyses focused on men, as only men (N = 694) were effectively represented in younger adult ages. "Recurrent words" assessed word memory. dTFA (grams/day) estimates were calculated from the Fred Hutchinson Food Frequency Questionnaire. Regression, stratified at age 45, assessed the relation between memory and dTFA in various adjustment models. Major findings were replicated in the full sample (including women). Potential mediators were examined.


An age-by-dTFA interaction was significant. dTFA adversely predicted memory in younger adults (only), robust to adjustment model. Each gram/day dTFA was associated with an estimated 0.76 fewer words recalled (full model) (SE = 0.27, 95%CI = 0.22,1.3, P = 0.006). 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.


Greater dTFA was significantly associated with worse word recall in younger adults. Prooxidant and energetic detriments of dTFA and triangulation with other evidence offer prospects for causality.


For an accessible summary of the findings from this research study, see the accompanying news article from LiveScience: