Friday, November 13, 2020

Saturated Fat And Attention

The Study

Can what you eat for lunch impact how your brain works in the afternoon? This interesting study attempted to find out. Fifty-one women had their cognitive performance measured by means of the Continuous Performance Test (CPT) both before and after 2 test meals, one high in saturated fat and one high in unsaturated fat.  The CPT measures attention, concentration and reaction time. After the high saturated fat meal, women had a statistically significant increase in distraction. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2020; 111:1150-58.  

Take Home Message

This is a fascinating study. I have seen evidence that high glycemic load carbohydrates can impact cognition, but this is the first study that I have seen that shows saturated fat can have a negative effect on brain function. As far as potential mechanisms, the researchers believe that saturated fat can cross the blood brain barrier and increase inflammation. This inflammation may interfere with cognitive function. 

Saturated fats such as butter, full fat dairy and fatty cuts of red meat have been shown to increase risk of heart disease and stroke. They may also influence your ability to concentrate. Focus on healthy vegetable sources of fats such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts, nut butters and avocados.

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