Why That Bag of Chips is Making You Cranky


It’s so tempting: You’re craving a snack—or maybe you’re snacking because you’re stressed—so you head to the cupboard for a bite. What you choose, though, could have big effects on your mood for the rest of the day. And if that choice contains a specific kind of unhealthy fat, you might feel downright grumpy.

These days, most of us are aware of the obvious negative health effects of trans fats. Considered by many doctors to be the worst type of fat, trans fats are a kind of manmade unsaturated fat that’s been shown to raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. It’s no wonder that there’s been such a movement to highlight trans fats on food labels and menus.

The Immediate Danger of Trans Fats
That said, who doesn’t have an occasional yen for potato chips, cookies, and other processed treats?

Next time you think about giving in to temptation, though, consider this: Surprising new research reveals another, more immediate, effect of trans fats. A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities experienced significant mood changes after eating foods containing trans fats. People who consumed more trans fats were more likely to be aggressive and irritable.

No one wants to feel more frazzled than they already do. Instead, try snacks that offer you nutrition and flavor, like apple slices spread with nut butter, smoked salmon on a whole-grain cracker, or a cup of yogurt with fruit and nuts. You’ll feel satisfied—and energized, not cranky.

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Jessica Cerretani is a Boston-based freelance writer. Visit her jessicadcerretani.com