WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Eating foods containing trans fat may cause memory damage, according to a new study published by the American Heart Association.
Doctors asked a group of 690 all-male test subjects to commit 104 different words to memory and recite what they could recall back to researchers. Using information about the subjects' eating habits and lifestyle, researchers determined those who put the least amount of effort into keeping trans fat from their diet remembered an average of 11 fewer words than their healthier counterparts.
Consumption of trans fats has already been proven to lead to higher rates of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and depression.
"Trans fats increase the shelf life of the food but reduce the shelf life of the person," explains the study's author, Dr. Beatrice Golomb.
"They're a metabolic poison and that's not a good thing to be putting into your body. They don't provide anything the body needs."
While some areas, such as Boston, have criminalized the sale of trans fat, many food manufacturers get away with labeling products as "trans fat free" by using less than a gram per serving and labeling the offending substance "partially hydrogenated oil" in the ingredient list. Additionally, margarine and most butter substitutes are heavy in trans fat.
According to USA Today, "A quick check of Keebler products on Keebler.com, for instance, revealed that 42 out of about 100 products list partially hydrogenated oils among their ingredients, but were labeled as having no trans fats."