The Most Depressing Fat in the World - Drew Ramsey MD

Image courtesy Flickr/churl

Nobody likes a fake, but that is just what industrial trans fats are. Fake.

Their chemical structure isn’t quite like anything found in nature. You should care about trans fats because eating them increases your risk of heart disease and depression or of needing an antidepressant medication. I was thrilled when I learned of this study. We’ve known since 2006 that they are clearly bad for heart health and, as heart disease and brain disease are often linked in patients, I was suspicious of trans fats and their role in brain health.

To make vegetable oils more solid, they are heated to over 500 degrees and infused with hydrogen in the presence of a metal. Voila! Partially hydrogenated oils that brought the killer trans fats into our diet. The average American eats about 6 grams of these a day, yet researchers at Harvard estimate that eliminating them from the US food supply would prevent 200,000 heart attacks every year in the US.

Less reported is the link between trans fat and depression. Published in Feb 2011, a study entitled “Dietary Fat Intake and the Risk of Depression: the SUN Project” nicely connects these industrial fats and depression: those who ate the most trans fats were 42 percent more likely to get depressed. The results were also linear, which meant that even eating lower levels of trans fat increased a person’s risk. An inverse relationship, meaning a lower risk of getting depression, was detected for monounsaturated fats (omega-9s), olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats like the omega-3s.

The SUN project is the same data set that linked the Mediterranean dietary pattern to a lower risk of depression. It has the markings of data I like — it is prospective, follows a good-sized population (12, 059 Spanish university graduates with an average age of 37.5 years), and follows them for a while (an average of 6.1 years).

It is important to note that both a depression diagnosis by a physician and the use of an antidepressant medication were used as endpoints. Antidepressant medications are prescribed for a host of brain disorders – generalized anxiety, OCD, PTSD, minor depressions. So I think that endpoint could be used as a possible measure of a diet’s influence on many brain disorders for which antidepressants are used, not just depression. It’s another good piece of data that supports the gospel: diets with the right kind of fats could help brain health and decrease your risk of depression, anxiety, irritability, “the blues,” and dementia.

Are the results so surprising? No. The scary workings of industrial fats on our brain (and heart) health are a clear indication that we need to stay away from processed food. If you feel reassured by “zero trans fats” labels don’t be. Anything under 0.5 grams per serving can be labeled as zero.

Related Science

Eat Complete

Winner of a 2017 IACP Cookbook Award  •  Finalist for a Books for a Better Life Award

Named one of the top health and wellness books for 2016 by Well + Good and MindBodyGreen


From leading psychiatrist and author of Fifty Shades of Kale comes a collection of 100 simple, delicious, and affordable recipes to help you get the core nutrients your brain and body need to stay happy and healthy.

What does food have to do with brain health? Everything.

Your brain burns more of the food you eat than any other organ. It determines if you gain or lose weight, if you’re feeling energetic or fatigued, if you’re upbeat or depressed. In this essential guide and cookbook, Drew Ramsey, MD, explores the role the human brain plays in every part of your life, including mood, health, focus, memory, and appetite, and reveals what foods you need to eat to keep your brain—and by extension your body—properly fueled.

Drawing upon cutting-edge scientific research, Dr. Ramsey identifies the twenty-one nutrients most important to brain health and overall well-being—the very nutrients that are often lacking in most people’s diets. Without these nutrients, he emphasizes, our brains and bodies don’t run the way they should.

Eat Complete includes 100 appetizing, easy, gluten-free recipes engineered for optimal nourishment. It also teaches readers how to use food to correct the nutrient deficiencies causing brain drain and poor health for millions. For example:

• Start the day with an Orange Pecan Waffle or a Turmeric Raspberry Almond Smoothie, and the Vitamin E found in the nuts will work to protect vulnerable brain fat (plus the fiber keeps you satisfied until lunch).

• Enjoy Garlic Butter Shrimp over Zucchini Noodles and Mussels with Garlicky Kale Ribbons and Artichokes, and the zinc and magnesium from the seafood will help stimulate the growth of new brain cells.

• Want to slow down your brain’s aging process? Indulge with a cup of Turmeric Cinnamon Hot Chocolate, and the flavanols found in chocolate both increase blood flow to the brain and help fight age-related memory decline.

Featuring fifty stunning, full-color photographs, Eat Complete helps you pinpoint the nutrients missing from your diet and gives you tasty recipes to transform your health—and ultimately your life.


Buy Eat Complete On AmazonBuy Eat Complete on iTunesBuy Eat CompleteEat CompleteBuy Eat Complete

You have Successfully Subscribed!

The Happiness Diet

For the first time in history, too much food is making us sick. It's all too apparent that the Modern American Diet (MAD) is expanding our waistlines; what's less obvious is that it's starving and shrinking our brains. Rates of obesity and depression have recently doubled, and while these epidemics are closely linked, few experts are connecting the dots for the average American.

Using the latest data from the rapidly changing fields of neuroscience and nutrition, The Happiness Dietshows that over the past several generations small, seemingly insignificant changes to our diet have stripped it of nutrients--like magnesium, vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin D, as well as some very special fats--that are essential for happy, well-balanced brains. These shifts also explain the overabundance of mood-destroying foods in the average American's diet and why they predispose most of us to excessive weight gain.

After a clear explanation of how we've all been led so far astray, The Happiness Diet empowers the reader with simple, straightforward solutions. Graham and Ramsey show you how to steer clear of this MAD way of life with foods to swear off, shopping tips, brain-building recipes, and other practical advice, and then remake your diet by doubling down on feel-good foods--even the all-American burger.


Buy Eat Complete On AmazonBuy Eat Complete

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Fifty Shades of Kale

Kale gets sexy in Fifty Shades of Kale by Drew Ramsey, M.D., and Jennifer Iserloh, with 50 recipes that are mouth-wateringly delicious and do a body good.
Release yourself from the bondage of guilt and start cooking meals with the ingredients you love: meat, cheese, and yes—even butter. Nutrient-rich kale provides essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy, happy, and lean—so you can indulge in your most delicious desires. Whether you’re a cooking novice or a real kale submissive, you will undoubtedly succumb to Kale’s charms.

From Mushroom and Kale Risotto to Kale Kiwi Gazpacho, Fifty Shade of Kale offers simple ways to have your kale and eat it, too, as well as nutritional information, cooking tips, and a tutorial on kale in all her glorious shades.
Indulge your culinary passions with Fifty Shades of Kale: 50 Fresh and Satisfying Recipes That Are Bound to Please.


Buy Eat Complete On AmazonBuy Eat Complete on iTunesBuy Eat CompleteEat CompleteBuy Eat Complete

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Are you ready to eat to beat depression?

Get a head start with our free food mood log! Submit your information and we will send you the log to begin.

You have Successfully Subscribed!