According tomedia Slash Gear, the foods we eat can have a big impact on our lives, including energy levels, attention, and so on. When it comes to mental effects, most people think of sugar and caffeine, but saturated fat has proven to have a big impact on your brain. A new study from Ohio State University has found that a single meal with saturated fat can have a significant impact on people’s ability to focus.
Saturated fat is a dietary fat, most commonly from animal products such as meat, butter and dairy products, but it can also be found in some plant-based foods, as well as like coconut oil.
The new study asked participants to take a test and then eat a meal before retesting — one group of people eating a diet high in saturated fat and the other eating a diet high in unsaturated fat sunflower oil. After dinner, the researchers found that groups that ate foods high in saturated fat performed worse than the groups that gave unsaturated fats.
Annelise Madison, lead author of the study, called it “remarkable” that a meal can have a significant effect on concentration levels. In this study, high-fat meals were those that contained eggs, turkey sausages, cookies, and gravy — the latter containing saturated or unsaturated fat, depending on the participants.
The researchers say they designed the meals to mimic the types that someone might get from the average fast food restaurant, such as hamburgers and fries. The second test was conducted five hours after the participants ate the meal. A few days later, the same participants ate the opposite meal and retested their performance, eventually linking saturated fat to poor attention and concentration.