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Medicine Science

Fatty Foods Affect Memory and Exercise Performance 379

Posted by timothy
from the I-distinctly-remember-eating-4-egg-mcmuffins-today dept.
Death Metal writes "Eating fatty food appears to take an almost immediate toll on both short-term memory and exercise performance, according to new research on rats and people. Other studies have suggested that that long-term consumption of a high-fat diet is associated with weight gain, heart disease and declines in cognitive function. But the new research shows how indulging in fatty foods over the course of a few days can affect the brain and body long before the extra pounds show up."
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Fatty Foods Affect Memory and Exercise Performance

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  • by Swizec (978239) on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:47AM (#29089507) Homepage
    Anecdotal evidence everyone is probably familiar with seems to confirm this. When you're at the office all day and decide to eat a pizza for lunch it seems very obvious that you're at least half way out of commission for the rest of the day. I had always assumed it was simply because one gets so stuffed from pizza, but apparently the high fat content played a big role too.

    Needless to say, I'm sticking to my low-fat diet with even more fervor henceforth ... although an occasional blunder feels SO good! Not while working though, this study clearly showed that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by somersault (912633)

      I've been eating fairly healthy/low fat food for a while, I definitely feel crappy after having certain kinds of food, like the last time I had fish and chips (deep fried fish and very thick cut fries, likewise deep fat fried).. incredibly greasy - I felt like shit for the rest of the evening. Likewise anything with lots of cheese like pizza just makes me feel kind of lethargic. Sure it's enjoyable at the time (though often with fatty foods I just don't find them as attractive as I used to), but a couple of

      • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:09AM (#29089607) Journal

        However how does it compare when you drop almost all carbohydrates and bring your body into ketosis? I always feel really energetic then, after "fat" food too. This doesn't include such fatty food than pizza and deep fried fries, but high-fat and high-protein meat, fish, ground beef and so on. Pizza and such is completely different, I think it comes from when you mix fat and carbohydrates (either "good" or "bad" ones) together.

        Also my stomach feels a lot better when eating high-fat/protein food with next to nothing carbs. I also get much more work done that way when I feel great after eating too.

        So definitely there is differences in body when eating fat together with carbs, and when eating fat but without carbs.

        • by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:16AM (#29089647) Journal

          Just to note before someone comes saying, that drop to ketosis takes 3-5 days and you shouldnt eat more than 15-20g of carbs a day. After 6-7 days your body has adjusted and you start feeling really really great and you have a lot more energy than previously, and wont hungry all the time. But it takes that period to adjust your body into it, so you cant just try it 1-2 days and say you feel like shit.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by CrashandDie (1114135)
            Low or no-carb diets are bad.

            Just get on your bike or lift dumbells. Killing your body by removing a required nutrient isn't a diet, it's stupid. Probably as much as vegans.

            Simple equation: energy in == energy consumed. If that is not the case, you're doing it wrong. You obviously have enough self-discipline to prevent yourself from eating things you decide, so why not have the self-discipline to do the same using a healthy diet and some exercise?
            • by sopssa (1498795) *

              The point isn't fully about losing weight, but to feel better. It was a huge difference when I tried it the first time and I still always feel the difference when eating other kind of food. I never feel stuffed, hungry after a few hours and my stomach is at peace.

              And in my opinion meat, fish and eggs is more natural food than potatoes or manufactured food, which usually contains more of those carbohydrates.

            • by jamesh (87723) on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:02AM (#29089823)

              Low or no-carb diets are bad.

              I remember watching a doco on low-carb high protein diets. They found that atkins was on to something, not with the low carbs but with the high protein. The group that had to have a lot of protein but could additionally eat anything else they wanted didn't actually end up eating much of anything else. The high protein seemed to cut down the cravings for snacks, snacks being what ruins most otherwise good diets.

              Simple equation: energy in == energy consumed.

              I don't think it's quite that simple for everyone. I've been through periods of eating really badly (high fat takeaway for lunch every day for weeks on end) and then really healthy, with identical exercise level (~none), and my weight never moved outside the 69-71kg range that i seem to have been stuck at for the last 5-10 years. I've added up the calories I intake vs the exercise I do (next to none) and by all calculations I should be a balloon. 69-71kg would be about right for my height if there was a bit more muscle on me.

              If I don't eat very regularly (eg breakfast at 8am, i'll need something fairly substantial by 10am) I get the shakes and start feeling really really spaced out and crave sugar. If I continue to not eat it kind of settles down and I start feeling a bit normal again but a few hours later i'll get a horrible headache that won't go away for days even with painkillers (although something with a lot of caffeine helps at bit if it goes that far). I've been tested for diabetes and hypoglycemia several times over the years and nothing has showed anything out of the ordinary... i assume i'm just a bit more sensitive to small drops in blood sugar levels than most people.

              • by JordanL (886154)

                They found that atkins was on to something, not with the low carbs but with the high protein.

                We knew about the affects of a high-protein diet LONG before Atkins.

              • by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:30AM (#29089939)

                If your body takes in more fat/protein/carbs etc than it needs it will either excrete them or store them... which it does depends partly on your genetic makeup, but more so on your recent pattern of diet/exercise

                If you have a healthy balanced diet and do adequate exercise (not very much, and could be normal activity) then occasionally eating unhealthy foods will do no long term harm, your body will not need the extra, and does not think it needs to store it so will simply excrete the excess ....

                If you starve yourself of food, or one type of nutrient then when you eat it your body will store any excess, because it thinks times are hard, this is why proper nutritionalists do not recommend mono diets (like Atkins) and when they do advise short term unbalanced diets, then they make sure you come off them slowly so this reaction does not occur ...

                Atkins has been proved to work for two reasons, you are on a diet and are having to watch what you eat and you tend to order ordinary meals and then not eat part of it ... so you eat less, and it is high protein so you are getting enough energy so you feel full ....so no snacking, but as a long term diet it is unhealthy and when you stop you can't just go back to a unheathly diet ....

              • by tchuladdiass (174342) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:47AM (#29090993) Homepage

                I always wondered why many people are constantly in a particular weight range, no matter what, even if that range is about 20 - 30 pounds higher than what it should be. My theory: Say you start putting on extra weight. That is more weight you have to carry around during your normal activities. So you burn more calories during the day, which causes you to drop back down to the upper end of your range. Now if you go on a health kick (not necessarily a crash diet) and drop 30 pounds, then go back to your normal routine. All of a sudden you are burning fewer calories a day than you did prior to losing weight, simply because you aren't carrying that extra 30 pounds with you wherever you go.

                So the solution to effective weight loss? Wear a weighted belt around your waist. Every time you drop 5 pounds, add another 5 pound weight to your belt (or add the weight to it first, and you will naturally lose that 5 pounds without trying).

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by DrLang21 (900992)
                  The problem with extra weight (depending on where you're starting off) is that it's hard on the joints of your body and the extra effort to do anything makes you less likely to get up and move around. I would advise against wearing weights unless it's part of a controlled training program.
              • by scorp1us (235526) on Monday August 17, 2009 @11:52AM (#29092895) Journal
                You are too dependent on your stomach to supply your blood sugar. I had this same problem in my 20s. While it is scary to be shaking if you wait a few hours you'll be fine. However it is no way to live going to meal to meal and just barely making it before the shakes set in.

                Insulin stores excess blood sugar to fat so you don't going into a coma. Glucagon is the opposite, taking fat and putting it in the blood stream as sugar. Insulin work on short (15 minute) time scales. Gucagon work on hour/day time scales. It takes 3 days of no carbs to bring your glucagon levels up to the point of fully being able to provide al the blood sugar you need. Both glucagon and insulin have an inverse relationship. If your insulin is high, then glucagon is shut off. (You don't want it constantly providing blood sugar when you are about to go into a coma.

                So what is happening in your body is called hyperinsulinism. You eat something, feel better, you burn some store the rest. Then your blood sugar drops below cellular satiation level. You feel hungry and get the shakes. You reach for more food as the cure... The same thing happens with rats. Take a rat, put it in a cage and provide it two sweetened water sources, one sugar, and the other a synthetic 0 calorie sweetener. At the start of the experiment, it will drink from both equally. But of the course of a few days it will only be drinking from the sugar one. Insulin makes you dependent on insulin because of its fast acting nature compared to glucagon.

                I broke the cycle by not eating simple carbs. No sugary drinks, and no breads. Complex carbs like beans are ok. Basically a low-glycemic index diet is what all adults should be on. One benefit of this is with my near-zero carb diet, I can go an entire day without eating an not be hungry or tired. My glucagon level stays elevated and I am in a constant fat-burning mode. If I get hungry it is only because I ate carbs about 4 hours before. (I do allow one day a week to let loose and have cake. It seems that at zero carbs all the time I'd get dizzy and sick whenever I ate them because the rush of blood sugar was too much. I lost my lunch a couple times that way) If you are hungry, the best thing to eat is something that will slowly digest with lasting energy. Proteins are great but won't fix your immediate hunger. The trick I do is this: liquid carbs - like a Vitamin Water 10 (25 cals/bottle) fast acting, then eat something at the same time to provide a longer-duration energy source.

                I cannot recommend a low-carb diet enough. It is so liberating. The Aborigines have a saying along the lines of "Western man looks at his watch to see when to eat" which highlights the differences between our diets. We are constantly looking for our next meal because of the carb/insulin dependence caused by our diets. They don't share the diet or the addiction. FYI: A person with a modest 10% body fat can live for a whopping 30 days on those reserves. What you experience in hunger intensity is not proportional to your survival predicament.

                FYI: the "Atkins" diet was known to work in the 1800s, when it was called the "Banting diet" after Charles Banting whose physician recommended it. It worked so well he went about sharing it with the world.

                I highly recommend everyone read "Good Calories Bad Calories" by Taubes, which is a fantastic book that critically examines what the mainstream media claims about diet.
            • by Sobrique (543255)
              Not that simple I'm afraid. Or rather, it is in the literal sense. But practically speaking, your body adjusts to the amount of available fuel - if you're starving yourself, then what will happen is your body will conserve energy so you can live as long as possible. What will happen then, is you find yourself exhausted and listless, and using very little energy, so not actually losing weight, despite cutting back on your intake.
              Similarly if you eat raw sugar, you get a lot of calories very efficiently, but
            • by spectro (80839)
              Simple equation: energy in == energy consumed

              Can you please point us to a published peer-reviewed scientific study proving that statement?

              Seriously, every single "diet" including the Food Pyramid recommended by our government are based on ideas that "make sense" with little scientific proof.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by DrLang21 (900992)
                Unless you've figured out how to defy the laws of thermodynamics [wikipedia.org], energy in == energy out applies. Period. Every calorie you consume must go somewhere and every ounce of fat you have must come from a calorie you consumed.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by sjames (1099)

                  Funny thing thermodynamics. It always works but only if you do a sufficiently complete analysis.

                  I used to have a car that could go 10 miles on the energy in 1 gallon of gas. My current car goes 30 miles on that same amount of energy. It goes a bit less if I run the A/C (back when that worked).

                  Energy in == energy out except that that energy out can be heat from resting metabolism, more or less heat generated for the same amount of exercise, energy going right through and coming out in waste or consumed by ba

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by yabos (719499)
              People doing ketosis will usually have a carb up once per week. The reason is to replenish your body's glycogen(glucose+water) storage which contained in your liver and muscle.

              Ketosis diets like the anabolic diet work extremely well for a lot of people. Carbs are not a required nutrient if you define required as needed to sustain life. Your body can live off of fat/keytones just fine. People who feel like shit on keytosis diets are most likely not doing it right. The first week or so when your body is
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by spectro (80839)
                People doing ketosis will usually have a carb up once per week

                Not quite, at least what Atkins proposes is that you regulate your weight gain/loss by increasing/decreasing your daily carb intake while ingesting a high-fat diet, in short:

                • Start with 20g of carbs a day for 2 weeks (induction phase, to deplete your glycocen reserves)
                • Add 5g carbs a week until you no longer lose weight, subtract 5g to it, that is your Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL) carb amount (if you no longer losing weight at 60g carbs a day, th
        • Yeah I have been eating a lot of protein without many carbs the last month or two, but I'm getting to the stage where I probably need some more energy to maintain the muscle I've been putting on. I've got maybe 12% body fat at the moment, don't mind losing a little more fat but I'm worried if I don't eat enough I'm going to be losing muscle too, which means in turn my body will burn less energy etc.

          I didn't know what the Atkin's diet was until recently, it's kind of like you say fat without carbs. My friend

    • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:13AM (#29089633) Homepage Journal

      because while I can chow down on an ounce, usually more, of almonds which are high in fat it does not "seem" to affect me as much as if I am eating foods the pizza you mentioned.

      I am curious what the break down is. As in, which fats are good/bad for the tests they performed. Now I will state in my case I bloat less from fatty foods compared to carb laden food and I have far less trouble with my sugar levels as well. I think we are missing some key information from this article.

      • by Fluffeh (1273756)
        I know that after I eat KFC, I feel literally SHITHOUSE for the next three to eight hours. Not only do I feel bloated and "fat" but a strange combination of lethargic (totally) and at the same time, I can feel my blood pressure soar and my heart rate kick up a few gears. It's downright scary. It seems to be the only fast food that does it to me though.

        I don't often decide to have a junk food binge, but I have learned to avoid deep fried chicken with the secret herbs and spices.
        • Well we already knew about Salt & Pepper - I'm guessing their "secret blend of herbs & spices" also includes a touch of crack and heroin...
      • by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:35AM (#29089963)

        Polyunsaturated fats - Good
        monounsaturated fat - Good
        Staturated fats - Bad
        Trans-fats - Very Bad

        Almonds mostly contain monounsaturated fat which can lower your cholesterol ....

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by rackeer (1607869)
          References?
          I read articles about nutrition and cognition some time ago. In general high energy expenditure and low energy intake have about the same effect (however rather long-term as far as I recall). "Exercise and the brain: something to chew on" [nih.gov] listed this food as potentially beneficial (though effects are not well-studied yet):
          - omega-3 fatty acid (e.g. fish oil),
          - some teas,
          - fruits,
          - folate (vitamin B9),
          - spices, and
          - other vitamins.

          In another article, "Impact of Energy Intake and Exp [nih.gov]
        • by brian0918 (638904)
          Saturated fat is bad? That's hilarious. So your own fat is bad for you? Good job, evolution!
        • by hey! (33014)

          Not to mention CLA (a kind of trans-fat) - probably good.

          The best advice I'd guess is to eat like a primitive modern human. That means eating plant matter pretty much all the time (like you were foraging) and enjoying meat but maybe not every day and always in conjunction with an active lifestyle.

          I'd also limit foods whose nutritional profile have been heavily manipulated, other than by normal cooking (modern humans evolved to eat cooked food, the raw food movement notwithstanding). Those manipulated foods

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Type44Q (1233630)
        I believe your observations are accurate and your suspicions [that the type of fat is what matters] are entirely correct.

        In the 80's, the 'health food' movement was, for the most part, focused on 'low fat' diets. We've since learned that not all fats are created equal; some (your almonds for example) are incredibly beneficial to the body, actually among the most nutritious things you can consume (some other foods that come to mind are avacados and flax seeds, which are incredible healthy [i]because[/i] of

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014)

        That's a good point. More than once, early research and nutritional advice on "fats" has been shaded by later research which distinguishes between kinds of fats. The heart dangers of "fat" turned out to be for saturated fats. Then we decided that trans fats, which are unsaturated, are even worse. Then we decided that conjugated linoleic acid, is good, and that's a trans fat.

        I suspect that fats are the one nutrient where the "organic" movement got it right. Foods naturally high in fat are probably bette

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      Don't blame pizza. It can be a very healthy dish if it is done by a proper cook.

      P.S: I love Italian food.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fished (574624)
      Why do you assume it's the fat in the pizza and not the carbohydrate? Relatively speaking, Pizza is at least as high in carbohydrate as it is in fat, if not quite a bit higher.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:52AM (#29089543)

    ... erm, i forgot.

    Must be early onset alzheimers

  • Captain Obvious (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bmgoau (801508)

    Eating unhealthy foods causes health problems. News at 11. Try the new octo cheese burger while you're waiting.

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:08AM (#29089605)

      Eating unhealthy foods causes health problems. News at 11. Try the new octo cheese burger while you're waiting.

      The news actually are a cleverly disguised "Fat people are dumb".

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by St.Creed (853824)

        Too clever for me. I think I'll have to cut down on the fat...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by value_added (719364)

        The news actually are a cleverly disguised "Fat people are dumb".

        They're also more expensive [nytimes.com].

        Quoth the article:

        Two years ago, the Cleveland Clinic stopped hiring smokers. It was one part of a "wellness initiative" that has won the renowned hospital -- which President Obama recently visited -- some very nice publicity. The clinic has a farmers' market on its main campus and has offered smoking-cessation classes for the surrounding community.

        Refusing to hire smokers may be more hard-nosed than the other parts

        • by sorak (246725)

          The news actually are a cleverly disguised "Fat people are dumb".

          They're also more expensive [nytimes.com].

          Quoth the article:

          Two years ago, the Cleveland Clinic stopped hiring smokers. It was one part of a "wellness initiative" that has won the renowned hospital -- which President Obama recently visited -- some very nice publicity. The clinic has a farmers' market on its main campus and has offered smoking-cessation classes for the surrounding community.

          Refusing to hire smokers may be more hard-nosed than the other parts of the program. But given the social marginalization of smoking, the policy is hardly shocking. All in all, the wellness initiative seems to be a feel-good story.

          Which is why it is so striking to talk to Delos M. Cosgrove, the heart surgeon who is the clinic's chief executive, about the initiative. Cosgrove says that if it were up to him, if there weren't legal issues, he would not only stop hiring smokers. He would also stop hiring obese people. When he mentioned this to me during a recent phone conversation, I told him that I thought many people might consider it unfair. He was unapologetic.

          Translation for reading comprehension impaired: Obama wants to kill fat people. ;-)

          If it isn't written on his birth certificate, I don't believe it :)

          • by Thanshin (1188877)

            If it isn't written on his birth certificate, I don't believe it :)

            It's right there:

            "
            U.S. Standard
            Certificate of live birth

            1. Child's Name(First, Middle, Last): Obama D.* Killer
            "

            *: The D stands for "dumbfatties".

    • Re:Captain Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by radtea (464814) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:45AM (#29090247)

      Eating unhealthy foods causes health problems

      The study is actually very poorly designed and proves nothing of the kind. Your comment is an example of confirmation bias, as are the researcher's conclusions.

      A well-designed study would start half the rats on the high-fat diet, the other half on the low fat diet. Train them to run the mazes, then switch the diets.

      It may well be that the effect being observed here is "massive sudden dietary change reduces cognitive performance."

      If you consider how uncomfortable and distracted you'd probably be if you were subject to this kind of violent dietary manipulation you'll see how plausible the alternative explanation is.

      I share your biases with regard to fatty foods, but that doesn't mean I can't tell a poorly designed study when I see one.

  • by hansraj (458504) on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:56AM (#29089559)

    On top of all that fatty food leaves you feeling bloated.

    That is why for my short-term memory loss and performance hit in physical activities I prefer marijuana.

  • Hmmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:01AM (#29089577)

    Hmmm, what was I going to say? Oh well, back to eating.

  • Grace period (Score:5, Insightful)

    by illm (1106673) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:04AM (#29089589)

    Switching your intake to a low-carb-high-fat diet involves a grace period a week or so. This is to allow the body to "reshape" itself to use the fat as an energy source instead of the previous intake of carbonhydrates.

    Symptoms of switching away from carbs to fat include; fatigue, dizzyness, high irritability and headache.

    "After only a few days on the high-fat diet, the rats performed 30 percent worse on the treadmill. After five days of testing, the treadmill performance of the rats eating fatty foods had declined by half."

    Any bells? So, nothing previously unknown to the lowcarbers here.

    Personally, I tried the lowcarb-highfat diet about half a year ago, and actually did lose a few kilos, but the most interesting change for me was that I felt more awake, my stomach stopped producing funny amounts of gas, and never ever felt hungry. I got tired of it after a while though - I kinda missed the occasional potato and pasta - so I've taken back the lost kilos again. These days I just don't shun fat and avoid sugary stuff. Both me and my previously upset stomach feels great now.

  • by romeanthem2 (1220126) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:08AM (#29089603)
    More fat is bad rubbish. I am supposed to believe that eating saturated fat is bad but of course eating lots of carbs is good. Of course the first thing the body does to excess carbs is to convert them to saturated fat in the liver. Why not just eat fat directly and give the liver a break, whilst maintaining my insulin sensitivity? If any one still believes the lipid hypothesis I suggest you log onto Hyperlipid and spend some time reading.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      It is written so it is true?

      Sorry, but "if you don't believe me, look there" is no way to prove anything. I mean, the earth is 6000 years old, if you don't believe me, read the Bible...

    • by Delifisek (190943) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:24AM (#29089685) Homepage

      Totally agreed.

      3 years before I start to work from home. My daily activity nearly zero. I sit chair every day. And I don't do any sport activity. Even barelly walking. Then I begin to gain weight. Probably I reach somewhere 125 kg.

      2 months before I watch a documentary about eating Macs and dropping weight. Commentor says he was on low carb diet.

      So I say why not ?

      I Cut every carb, coke, icecream, sugar, bread, rice, pasta, cookies, chips even water mellon. And begin to eat meat etc.

      Guess what ?

      I'm melting man. I'm melting while I eat same amount of food. My skin get better, I do not get hugry as before. My wounds heal faster.

      Now I'm about 110 kg. It was very nice to drop weight while, sitting and eating barbecue.

      I just wonder what if I goto fitness center and do for example one hour working a day.

      Just drop your blood sugar level. Your body will recover.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by romeanthem2 (1220126)
        Glad you are losing weight. My opinion on exercise depends upon how overweight you are, and what you plan on doing. The damage to your joints from running is massive if you are heavy, and so is not worth doing. Walking is generally fine for almost everyone, and will benefit your health. Strength training is great, so is joint mobility work. Be careful of intense exercise, it can greatly increase your appetite and then you go on a massive binge, negating the point of the exercise completely.
      • by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:38AM (#29089971)
        I was 250kg, then I took up alligator wrestling as a hobby.

        Now I have lost an arm and a leg, and my weight has fallen drastically ...

      • by value_added (719364) on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:50AM (#29089999)

        I Cut every carb, coke, icecream, sugar, bread, rice, pasta, cookies, chips even water mellon. And begin to eat meat etc.

        It's worth pointing out that doing so means your grocery bill will tend to go up. Not a bad thing, of course, but in a world where people demand things being cheap (i.e., subsidised, or the product of industrial farming techniques), it may be difficult for the average person to see the value in doing so. Chickens, for example, were once upon a time considered "special" and eaten at most once per week. Today, we expect them at the drive-thru window.

        Moreover, in tough economic times, the average person will want to lower the amount of money they spend, not increase it for "non-essentials" like healthy food. Poor people doubly so. From least to most expensive, our buying choices could be crudely summarised as:

        1. Dirt
        2. Refined Sugar or Corn Syrup
        3. Carbohydrates
        4. Protein
        5. Fruits and Vegetables
        6. Fats (Olive Oil, Butter, etc.)
        7. Nuts
        8. Champaign, Caviar or Hookers

        So replace protein with carbohydrates if you can. I have lots of wealthy friends who do just that and demand fresh fish (fresh grilled salmon seems the most popular choice) on a daily basis. Those same people are quick to offer up factoids such as "Walnuts are a perfect food" without worrying that they cost more per pound than expensive cuts of meat. By contrast, the poor people I know typically limit their choices to refined sugar and carbohydrates.

        Granted, protein is available from different sources (beans, dairy, meat from various animals) at different costs, but most of will always prefer the meat variety to form the basis of our diet.

        As for the conclusions of the article, I'd raise the question that if you've succeeded in getting a happy dose of fat into your system at one indulgent sitting, what need or motivation is there for cognitive thinking? It may be that your body is telling you to just enjoy the feeling and do nothing else. Put another way, eating a pint of ice cream is not unlike smoking a joint; it's supposed to be its own reward. If you expected to be doing something else (like drive, work, operate heavy machinery, or do math), then maybe you made the wrong choice. ;-)

        • by cabjf (710106)
          The funny part about fruits and vegetables is that you can get them as cheap as the refined sugar and corn syrup by going to your local farmers market. Not only is it, on average, fresher than in the store, but you're cutting out one or two middle men, avoiding a markup at every step. It's not so much a question of availability as what one would rather eat without considering the health benefits. The poorer a person is, the less likely they are to care about the content of their diet.

          High carb diets d
  • Motivation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bencollier (1156337) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:13AM (#29089631) Homepage
    No-one seems to have spotted the fact that the rats who were being fed fatty food may have had less motivation for completing the maze, given that the reward was more food. Am I missing something or is this entire study invalid?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by IBBoard (1128019)

      I think you must have missed part of the study. They explained before-hand to the rats that if they completed the maze then they'd get good quality food instead of McDonalds drippings (the coagulated fat from frying, in case it is a British thing) but they still couldn't make themselves do any better ;)

    • Well played sir!

      I know when I was a vegetarian I would have these tremendous cravings for fat. Anecdotally, prisoners who have been released from prisoner of war camps, where they were fed low-fat diets, and were given a feast went straight for pure fats (butter, gravy, that sort of thing) over carbohydrates. Vegans tell stories of "binges" on sour cream, cream cheese, etc. Maybe the rats were craving the fat in the milk?

  • I wonder what the underlying cause behind this is? Is it just some particular property of fat? Or is it that fat is both high in calories, and hard to digest, meaning your body's got to dedicate more time to digestion and less to cogitation. That'd explain why I feel sort of the same after having a low-fat, high-carb meal - something with a lot of bread, for example. Reading the article (which may not be an accurate representation of the study), the researchers basically had a bunch of rats on low-fat diet
  • And here I was thinking I just don't like listening to Auntie Martha's stories. Now I know it's all the cake she stuffs into my face why I blissfully forget anything she tells me during my semi-mandatory (as long as I want to inherit anything) visits.

    I just wonder... is it something evolutionary and we had to endure those visits to old relatives we hate (or at least their stories), and we were always stuffed by them with sugar rich crap, so our body develops some sort of mental protection that whenever we c

  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:16AM (#29089651) Homepage
    From the article:

    To determine the effect of a fatty diet on memory and muscle performance, researchers studied 32 rats that were fed low-fat rat chow and trained for two months to complete a challenging maze.

    And then later, some of the rats had their diet changed to a high-fat diet and others kept the same diet as before. But perhaps they just performed worse because the diet differed from what they were used to? To make a fair experiment there should also be a group of rats who were fed on a high-fat diet for two months during training, and then switched to low-fat for tests. Perhaps their performance would worsen too.

  • what fats? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tick-tock-atona (1145909) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:38AM (#29089739)
    I'm assuming these are saturated or trans-fats, which are known to cause disease and are already suspected to contribute [wikipedia.org] to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's Disease, rather than polyunsaturated fats are supposedly good for you [wikipedia.org]. Neither TFA nor the study abstract indicate what they actually fed the rats.
  • by sw155kn1f3 (600118) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:48AM (#29089785)

    It's very surprising that these scientists don't read basic articles in their field.
    Anyone who read at least one article at this topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulin_index [wikipedia.org] knows that eating 50% fat, 50% carbohydrates will make your insulin spike like hell, much worse than just eating all that fat and carbs but separately separated by 2-3 hours.
    Insulin spike will cause direct hit on your glucose levels to the point of hypoglycemia, hence the fatigue and slow brain + longterm increased body fat. As a result you're hungry very fast and still have no energy.
    Just eat them separately.
    Or take more powerful approach with carb cycle diet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carb_cycling [wikipedia.org]
    It works. I feel great all the time. Was not the case on Atkin's or any other food plan I ever been on (was obese since childhood, now not).

  • High_Fructose_Corn_Syrup

    this stuff is in everything, soda-pop, cookies, crackers, loaves of sliced bread, packaged food kits like Hamburger Helper and other similarly packaged items, high fructose corn syrup is not the corn syrup you buy in the bottle, this stuff is much worse, and comparing the two is like comparing the caffeine in a cup of coffee to MethAmphetemines. high fructose corn syrup should be made illegal because it is the single biggest offender in obesity...
  • by mr_stark (242856) <tim&trgray,co,uk> on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:21AM (#29089901)

    I'm always amused when this kind of research comes out, talking about how fats are bad for you. Its much more complex than that. You really should be measure total calorie amount not just fat content. Too many calories is bad full stop. As other posters have mentioned the lack of energy is probably only a short term effect of switching to fat as a fuel source. I've switched over to a high fat/low carb diet (F50/P30/C20) and have no issues with lethargy or lack of concentration. I've got no problems with day to day programming tasks and haven't encountered any strength or endurance degradation in the gym.

    I'm of the option that fat - esp saturated fat - is a much heather macro nutrient that carbs. The only carbs that the human digestive system can process in a raw state is sugar (think fruit), starch can be converted to sugar also but most of the other so called healthy carb sources needs processing before humans can consume them. Potatoes have to be cooked (try eating raw potatoes and see what happens), as does rice, wheat and grains have to be ground down into a powder. Fat on the other hand can be eaten straight off the animal. Humans aren't evolved to eat significant amounts of carbs.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Caue (909322)
      Potatoes don't have to be cooked - thay are just better when cooked. My mother used to make me eat raw potatoes whenever I had stomach problems - it levels the acidity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm always amused when people who think they know better make fools of themselves.

      There are plenty of carbs that humans can digest without cooking -- fruit, nuts, vegetables. Not all grains have to be ground down into a power, either -- ever heard of the term "whole grain"? And what is wrong with the need to cook a food before you can eat it -- how does that automatically make it "bad"?

      If your diet works for you, that's good. But please don't spread bullshit.

  • by Provocateur (133110) on Monday August 17, 2009 @07:53AM (#29090019) Homepage

    on (takes long drag) ... on...what was that again? Fatty foods, right, right...

    • It's not the weed, man, it's eating all the crap when the munchies set in. Told ya the whole time that ... eh ... umm... anyway, how long yer gonna bogart that blunt?

    • So it's not the weed..it's the binging after that has negative effects!

  • First of all, if you are not separating the fats by their saturation, your data is going to be useless, as these fats have very different effects on the body.
    And second, (refined) sugar/starch is ignored again, despite being a far worse problem in our society. (E.g. companies still advertising candy as "without fat".)

  • Ridiculous (Score:4, Informative)

    by Fished (574624) <amphigory@gmail.cPERIODom minus punct> on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:29AM (#29090173)

    This is typical of the sorts of studies that try to support the low-fat hypothesis. In this case, the problem is that they didn't give sufficient time to adjust to the new diet. It appears that the rats were only given 4 days to adjust to the high-fat diet, compared with weeks on the low-fat diet. The problem is that when the body switches from burning carbohydrates to fats, the fuel the brain uses changes from glucose to ketone bodies. As anyone who has tried a low-carb diet can tell you, for the first several days (a week or two for some people--no idea what it would be for rats) you feel rather dull and drained for several days. Then one day the "brain fairy" arrives and you have more energy, physically and mentally, than you've had in years.

    I spent years as a near-vegetarian on a very low-fat diet and what it got me was literally 200 lbs. overweight and type 2 diabetes. I've now lost 46 lbs. on a low carb diet getting about 60% of my calories from FAT, my type 2 diabetes is basically cured, and I feel better than I've felt in at least ten years. My lipid profile has also improved dramatically.

    Every study done thus far looking at low-carb vs. low-fat has shown that low-fat is a failure (read the studies, not just the blurbs or the conclusions). Think about it... over the past 20 years, Americans have reduced their fat intake by 25% and type 2 diabetes has increased by 1000%, heart disease has become MORE prevalent, strokes have become MORE prevalent. The Low Fat experiment is a failure. And make sure to read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by evilviper (135110)

      Every study done thus far looking at low-carb vs. low-fat has shown that low-fat is a failure (read the studies, not just the blurbs or the conclusions).

      Not true in the slightest. In fact, controlled studies comparing the various diets, side-by-side, have found minimal differences between the various approaches.

      In short, eat whatever the hell you want, but eat less of it fat ass! You'll be healthier person if you're 140lbs surviving on potato chips than if you're 300lbs with a well-rounded diet.

      Anyone cla

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday August 17, 2009 @08:39AM (#29090221)
    I already knew that there was a link between consuming high quantities of fatty foods and prevalence of low intelligence, but I thought that was because the kind of lard-arsed troglodyte who shovels burgers, fries, and extra large pizzas down their excessively jowled chins do so in front of the television.
  • Is it just me, or is the image in the article missing the burgers?
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/13/fatty-foods-affect-memory-and-exercise/ [nytimes.com]

    It looks like a nice semi-healthy lettuce sandwich with a little cheese.

    Perhaps the photographer is a hindu or something...?

  • Those scientists have to look on the plus side.(Wow, double entre there) So wait a second, I don't want to hear their bitching anyways and fatty foods will help me forget so what was the problem exactly?
  • Okay, if you want the real "skinny" on diet, you need to read (or watch the following:

    Good Calories, Bad Calories [amazon.com]
    Great debunking of the low fat myth. Meticulously researched and referenced. Not an easy read.
    The Vegetarian Myth [amazon.com]
    Think eating grains is good for the planet, good for the poor, good for you, moor ethical? Think again. Writer is an ex-vegan who gave it up after it ruined her health.
    Fat Head: Movie [amazon.com]/dt>
    Documentary Response to Supersize Me. Documentator (is that word?) looses weight ea
  • by jpstanle (1604059) on Monday August 17, 2009 @09:27AM (#29090709)
    Among all the other flaws with this study, I'm surprised nobody else has pointed out that this study was performed with rats who have a vastly different diet than humans. Freshly hunted meat certainly is not a primary portion of a rat's diet, whereas historically speaking, it is for humans.
  • by ErikZ (55491) *

    Fatty foods don't make you fat. Taking in more calories than you're burning makes you fat.

    This is...a very basic concept. The only way I know to short circuit it is to drop an essential component the body needs for making fat. Like carbs.

  • a high carb diet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:37AM (#29091705) Homepage Journal

    is like punching your pancreas: it spikes sugars in the blood, abusing your insulin making mechanisms

    a high protein diet

    can destroy your kidneys, put you in ketoacidosis, etc., etc., and other such nonsense scare tactics

    did you know water can KILL you!?

    look: eat carbs: complex unprocessed grains, so your blood sugars rise and fall slowly

    eat protein: good sources like fish and egg that have biotin and omega-3s for brain health

    and eat fat: good fats like olive oil. you actually want fats in your bloodstream, that's what hdl is. ldl deposits plauqes, hdl sweeps them up

    so what do you do about the food you eat? you eat wholesome complex little processed foods, you eat them in moderation, and you get exercise

    that's it, that's the magic

    for those of you slurping down mountain dew at 3 am and eating bacon cheeseburgers all day: you're taking years off your life. which might be fine with you. in which case, when you read articles like this, toast a cheer your devil-may-care lack of interest in taking care of yourself, and congratualtions on less women being interested in you and your health problems in your 30s and 40s

    life is short, take care of your body. it hardly means much now, but you will hate yourself in your 60s if you treat your body so badly. or, you could feel like you are in your 30s when you are in your 60s. its up to you. no pain (temporary, addiction like withdrawal from unhealthy foods now), no gain (a longer, richer life)

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