View Full Version : Unhappy? Blame Potato chips. WTF?!

02-07-2011, 04:39 PM
How about, blame a lack of self-discipline?! :blink:

Trans-Fats Make You Unhappy
By Jessica Levine, Men’s Health

Feeling blue? Blame those crinkly packages in your cupboard. Those now-notorious trans fats may contribute to depression, a new paper suggests.

In the study, Spanish researchers followed more than 12,000 people for 6 years. Though no one had depression at first, people who ate the most trans fats at the beginning of the study—equal to roughly half a teaspoon of margarine per day—were more likely to become depressed down the road versus people who ate the least trans fats. Specifically, there were 8.7 cases of depression per 1,000 people who didn’t eat much trans fat. But for those who ate the most, the rate was 10.9 cases per 1,000.

Now let’s be honest here: Those numbers don’t exactly make for a compelling case. But lead author Almudena Sanchez-Villegas says the adverse effects of trans fatty acids are thought to cause inflammation that interferes with neurotransmitters, like serotonin, important to mood regulation.

If Sanchez-Villegas is right that trans fats lead to depressions, Americans may be even worse off than the people in her study: The Spanish subjects eating the most trans fat only got 0.4 percent of their total daily calories from it. But trans fat accounts about 2.6 percent of calories in American diets on average, according to FDA statistics.

But couldn’t these people just have a tendency to deal with their feelings by eating more bad-fat-filled foods? After all, “comfort food” like cookies and chips are typically laden with trans fats. Sanchez-Villegas points out that her study does show a cause-and-effect relationship because none of the subjects had depression to start. That said, a 2010 study found that people with more depressive symptoms gain more weight over time than people with better moods—suggesting that depression may trigger overeating (and/or a lack of exercise). It could be that both depression and a bad diet work in concert, each contributing to the other.

Another explanation: Perhaps the problem is that people are eating trans fats instead of the healthy ones, Sanchez-Villegas explains. Her study showed that the more unsaturated fats (like those in olive oil) people ate, the less likely they were to be diagnosed with depression. “Olive oil contains some bioactive polyphenols with important anti-inflammatory properties that could actually improve the function of parts of the brain related to mood,” she explains. A number of other studies have also linked low levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids to mood disorders and depression.

Either way, our bodies do appear to be healthier when eat more omega-3 fats and fewer trans fats. Learn more about What the FDA Doesn’t Tell You about Trans Fats and follow this Trans-Fat Free Shopping List.