Saturated fats can undermine your cognition

A healthy body is a body that needs everything a diet can offer. Even the unsaturated fatty acids are necessary. To keep it healthy, we need to learn the measure and to avoid excess. Even a good thing can harm when excess is the rule.

Dietary habits during the pandemic

Uncertainty is a heavy burden. And we all live in it. The coronavirus made sure of it. And the lockdown with all the good, that it does, is another burden. Isolated in uncertainty, our sources of comfort are fewer and fewer. The one standing is food. It’s only natural since our life depends on it.

Since we can’t get bored with eating, we can only grow fonder of it. And that’s dangerous. Relying on food to make us feel good will make us engage in addictive behavior. And when the object of our fondness are fatty acids, we can expect that our psychological health will suffer even more than it already does. A worsening of depression is to be expected and impairment in one of the major domains of cognition.

This is a worry expressed by Annelise Madison, a graduate student in clinical psychology at The Ohio State University. She is the lead author of a study which made her conclude that unsaturated fatty acids are a Jack Ketch of cognitive skills, such as concentration and attention. And, for those suffering from leaky gut, not even the good saturated fatty acids are too friendly.

The fats, the brain, and the research

“When people are more anxious, a good subset of us will find high-saturated-fat food more enticing than broccoli. We know from other research that depression and anxiety can interfere with concentration and attention as well. When we add that on top of the high-fat meal, we could expect the real-world effects to be even larger,” said Madison. In our society, psychological care is still a stigma. Lately, people have a more relaxed vision for therapy, as it is the best method to address mental issues and keep your mental health. If you intend to map yourself psychologically, is there to help you.

Madison and her team tested a group of 51 females for their cognitive performances. They were first tested after eating a meal cooked in saturated fat. After two weeks, they were tested after consuming the same dish cooked in sunflower oil.

Their results were lower by 11% after consuming the high saturated fat meal. They found it hard to focus or maintain their attention for too long. “It could be that fatty acids are interacting with the brain directly,” says Madison. This can’t be good news for those that rely on a keto diet to lose or maintain weight.

When an impaired gut leaking intestinal bacteria into the bloodstream came into the equation, the effect escalated. But not only for those that ate saturated fat. If the gut isn’t impermeable enough, fatty acids become a great menace for the brain. The participants suffering from it “were performing poorly no matter what type of fat they ate.”