Alterations in mood after changing to a low-fat diet.

Alterations in mood after changing to a low-fat diet.

The effects on mood of reducing dietary fat while keeping the energy constant were examined in ten male and ten female healthy volunteers aged between 20 and 37 years. Each volunteer consumed a diet containing 41% energy as fat for 1 month. For the second month half of the subjects changed to a low-fat diet (25% energy from fat) and the remainder continued to eat the diet containing 41% energy from fat. Changes in mood and blood lipid concentrations were assessed before, during and at the end of the study. Profile of mood states (POMS) ratings of anger-hostility significantly increased in the intervention group after 1 month on the low-fat diet, while during the same period there was a slight decline in anger-hostility in the control subjects (group F 6.72; df 1.14; P = 0.021). Tension-anxiety ratings declined in the control group consuming the higher fat diet but did not change in the group consuming the low-fat diet (group F 6.34; df 1.14; P = 0.025). There was a decline in fasting concentrations of HDL-cholesterol after the low-fat diet and a small increase in subjects consuming the medium-fat diet (group F 4.96; df 1.12; P = 0.046), but no significant changes in concentrations of total serum cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol or triacylglycerol were observed. The results suggest that a change in dietary fat content from 41 to 25% energy may have adverse effects on mood. The alterations in mood appear to be unrelated to changes in fasting plasma cholesterol concentrations.

Speaks for itself. The brain and nervous system are composed largely of fat, and if you deprive them of it, mood changes result – or at any rate, that’s how I see it. It seems similar to the mood and memory changes reported as side effects to statin use, which deprives the nervous system of much of the cholesterol that it needs.


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dearieme says February 24, 2013

There was a large and long-lasting Norwegian study published some years ago: the males on the low fat diet had a slightly lower numbers of deaths caused by heart attacks and the like, but a somewhat higher all-cause mortality because of their increase in murders, suicides etc. This, the researchers proposed, was because the low-fatters were unhappy bunnies.

Personally I find that study far more persuasive than larking about with twenty people and POMS.

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