Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Can food make you angry?

For many of us, the food-mood link feels very real – but some say it's just in the mind. Still, surely it can't hurt to ditch the trans fat-laden junk food and sugar from our diets.

Fast food  

Feeling tetchy? Itching for a scrap? Maybe it's something you ate? I have long believed in "food swings"– ply me with sweets and jam puddings and I'm a different person to my salad-eating alter ego. It's not so much a sugar rush, like the ones that some parents of small children testify to (and which the jury is still out on), but more of a sugar slump.

A growing body of research indicates that what we eat may affect how angry we feel. Yet, for many, the food-mood link still has an aura of quackery. One recent University of California study showed that "greater trans fatty acids were significantly associated with greater aggression," says lead author and professor Beatrice Golomb. "Trans fats interfere with omega three metabolism" – and apparently, the brain's neurons need these essential fatty acids to keep us bright and snappy. Lack of omega three has already been linked with depression and antisocial behaviour, and according to some experts, it seems many of us post-industrialists have woefully omega-three-deficient diets.

It's not exactly "eat a sausage roll; punch someone", but down to "patterns of eating". Another study indicated that when levels of the brain chemical serotonin dip, from stress or not eating, it affects the brain regions regulating anger, potentially resulting in "a whirlwind of uncontrollable emotions".

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