Do high-fat diets make us stupid and lazy?

Short-term memory getting worse? Exercise getting harder? Examine your diet. New research published online in The FASEB Journal ( showed that in less than 10 days of eating a high-fat diet, rats had a decreased ability to exercise and experienced significant short-term memory loss. These results show an important link between what we eat, how we think, and how our bodies perform.

“Western diets are typically high in fat and are associated with long-term complications, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart failure, yet the short-term consequences of such diets have been given relatively little attention,” said Andrew Murray, co-author of the study and currently at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. “We hope that the findings of our study will help people to think seriously about reducing the fat content of their daily food intake to the immediate benefit of their general health, well-being, and alertness.”

Murray and colleagues studied rats fed a low-fat diet (7.5 percent of calories as fat) and rats fed a high-fat diet (55 percent of calories as fat). The researchers discovered that the muscles of the rats eating the high-fat diet for four days were less able to use oxygen to make the energy needed to exercise, causing their hearts to worker harder—and increase in size. After nine days on a high-fat diet, the rats took longer to complete a maze and made more mistakes in the process than their low-fat-diet counterparts. Researchers then investigated the cellular causes of these problems, particularly in the mitochondria of muscle cells. They found increased levels of a protein called uncoupling protein 3, which made them less efficient at using oxygen needed to make the energy required for running.

“It’s nothing short of a high-fat hangover,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “A long weekend spent eating hotdogs, French fries, and pizza in Orlando might be a great treat for our taste buds, but they might send our muscles and brains out to lunch

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology


One thought on “Do high-fat diets make us stupid and lazy?

  1. Dave, RN

    Uh… no. If you go from eating a carbohydrate (ie sugar) based diet to a higher fat and protein diet, your body will rebel for a while. It’s like going off of cocaine or heroine. You fell horrible and your performance on everything will certainly suffer, but after a while your body acclimates and you return to a healthy state. If they would have extended the diet for an appropriate length of time, they would have seen this.
    Think of it this way: We all know there are essential fats that we have to get in our diet. We also know that there are essential protiens tha must come from diet. Have you ever heard of an essential carbohydrate? Nope. Doesn’t exist.
    I used to eat a Standard American Diet of lots of carbs. When the blood sugar problems started (to make a long story short) I finally figured out that a high grain (yes that includes whole grains) I ditched ALL grains. My results:
    Lost 30 lbs
    Blood sugar normalized
    Blood pressure normalized
    Mild depression gone

    The point here is to think for yourself and don’t believe what the media regurgitates. I mean really, this was a 9 day study. Give me a break. This is a great example of bad science. Those who did it should be ashamed of themselves.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s