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The much-heralded arrival of the first dedicated Kripsy Kreme outlet in Perth was greeted with great appreciation by KK aficionados and much dismay by nutritionists and healthy food advocates. Queues of dedicated KK fans lined up for over 2 hours waiting to buy them,

For years, Perth passengers flying in from the Eastern seaboard have had to hand carry their precious cargo of KK’s with them, storing them carefully in the overhead lockers to keep them safe for the journey west.

What was all the fuss about this donut I wondered? Looking at the array of gaudy glazed donuts behind the glass cabinet I thought, there’s only one way to find out – let’s try one.

All I needed was one bite. Gluggy, lardy and over sweet. Gross. I don’t think I have ever eaten anything quite so foul – though raw sea urchin (while nutritionally far superior) comes a close second. While donuts are not on the regular menu my memory of a enjoying a freshly made donut, hot, light and fluffy with a sprinkling of caster sugar bore no resemblance to this experience.

And they call this food?

A recent study has just been published looking at the effect of eating the wrong sort of fats has on the brain.
As you can imagine, the news is not good.
It should be enough to put you off Krispy Kremes and other fast food for life.

Researchers showed that following the consumption of trans fats, subjects showed up to a 10% reduction in memory performance.

10% !

Trans fats are the fats found in processed foods, baked goods, snacks, frozen pizza, margarine and yes, you guessed it, Krispy Kremes.

In this study, 1000 men under the age of 45 were given a memory test using 104 word cards. They were shown a card and then asked to say whether the word was new or one that they had seen before.

What they found was that those men who consumed more trans fats in their diet  had noticeably worse memory performance.

For every extra gram of trans fat consumed, word recall was reduced by one word

Those who ate the most amount of trans fat reduced their word memory by that 10%.

Why does this happen?
Because different foods have different effects on what is termed oxidative stress and cell energy. Dr. Golumb the lead author of the study had previously found that chocolate which is rich in antioxidants, positively impacts cell energy leading to  better word recall. So eating a little (note a little!) chocolate is linked to better word memory in young to middle aged adults.

What she suspected was that those foods which are pro-oxidant such as trans fats would have the opposite effect as confirmed by this study.

As Dr. Golumb tells her patients “Trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people.”

Given the choice, it’s a no brainer. Eating fresh unprocessed foods is better for us every time.


Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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