Trans fats linked with irritability and aggression

Wednesday, 21 March, 2012


The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ may have received some extra credibility after scientists proved that trans fats can make you angry. Researchers at the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine have demonstrated a link between consumption of dietary trans fatty acids (dTFAs) and aggression.

The study assessed 945 men and women on such factors as history of aggression, conflict tactics and self-rated impatience and irritability and used an ‘overt aggression’ scale that tallied recent aggressive behaviours. The analyses were adjusted to account for sex, age, education and alcohol and tobacco use.

“We found that greater trans fatty acids were significantly associated with greater aggression, and were more consistently predictive of aggression and irritability, across the measures tested, than the other known aggression predictors that were assessed,” said Dr Beatrice Golomb, who led the research.

“If the association between trans fats and aggressive behaviour proves to be causal, this adds further rationale to recommendations to avoid eating trans fats, or including them in foods provided at institutions like schools and prisons, since the detrimental effects of trans fats may extend beyond the person who consumes them to affect others.”

The research has been published online by PLoS ONE.

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