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June 15, 2020 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition

A Single Meal High In Saturated Fat Reduces Focus

red meat pile
The science linking diet to brain function is growing by the day and totally captivates me. Thanks to a new double blind, crossover clinical trial, we have evidence that even a single meal high in saturated fat can compromise focus and concentration.
For this study scientists carefully monitored the focusing ability of 51 women fed two different test meals on two separate occasions. Test meal one was high in saturated fats, meant to mimic a typical fast food meal of a Big Mac with medium-sized fries. Test meal two was identical in calories and makeup, but substituted unsaturated fat from sunflower oil for the saturated fat. After consuming the high saturated fat meal, the study subject’s focus diminished significantly vs. after the meal high in unsaturated fat. The lead researcher commented that it was “pretty remarkable we saw a difference after just one meal.” I am not surprised.
Past studies have shown that saturated fats can quickly cross the blood-brain barrier and incite damaging inflammation in critical areas of the brain. When the brain is inflamed it doesn’t work well. What’s more, we also know that a single meal high in saturated fats can diminish blood flow to the brain. That is a double whammy! Saturated fats are a known menace to many aspects of health, particularly brain health.
Click here to see the full lowdown on “feeding your brain the right fats” and what foods to keep on and off your plate if you want to maintain a healthy brain.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2020; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa085
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