One more reason not to eat processed foods, especially those containing refined sugar and trans fats: they have been linked to anger and aggressive behavior.
A study performed at the University of California surveyed 945 men and women about their trans fat intake, as well as their levels of aggression. When the survey results were adjusted for outlying factors, such as age and use of alcohol and tobacco, researchers found a strong link between aggressive behavior and the consumption of high levels of trans fats.
Lead author Beatrice Golumb says, “we found that greater trans fatty acids were associated with greater aggression. This adds further rationale to recommendations to avoid eating trans fats as their detrimental effects may extend beyond the person who consumes them.”
The connection between trans fats and anger is thought to have to do with their inhibition of the body’s ability to metabolize omega-3 fatty acids. Past studies have linked a lack of omega-3’s with antisocial behavior and depression, so the anger connection is not too surprising.
The University of California study does not prove causation between trans fats and aggression; it has also been theorized that angry people simply gravitate towards junk food more than others in an attempt to alleviate their anger.
However, it may also be a vicious cycle between feeling angry; a person eats trans fat-filled snacks to try and feel better, instead feels worse which results in more anger.
Refined sugar is another substance that studies have linked to angry behaviors. Nutritionist Natalie Duhamel states that along with paving the way for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, sugar can make people feel depressed, angry and even promote a tendency towards violence.
According to Dr. Alex Richardson of Oxford University, “prison studies suggest that many inmates have poor blood sugar control, compounded by a high-sugar diet. We all know how it it feels when blood sugar drops – we feel moody, foggy. Apply that to someone from a disturbed background.”
Along with controlling our stress levels through meditation, yoga or other healthy outlets, avoiding trans fats and refined sugar gives your brain the best chance to not give in to aggressive impulses.
Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as from oily fish and flax seeds, and organic fruits and vegetables is also important in order to provide your brain the nourishment it needs to function at its clearest and best.
-The Alternative Daily