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The #1 Worst Food To Eat If You're Angry and Stressed, Says Science

Feeling irritated? This food is probably not helping.

Do you ever find yourself feeling irritable and aggravated, with no clear reason to why? It may have to do with your diet.

Studies show that what you eat not only plays a role in your physical health, but your mental health as well. Certain foods and beverages you consume can energize you, while others can leave you feeling sluggish, dreary, and yes, even angry. Research shows that one type of food can cause feelings of anger and stress when consumed, and that's foods high in trans fats.

One study published in PLOS One shows an association between the consumption of dietary trans fatty acids and "behavioral irritability and aggression." In this study, 945 adult men and women were evaluated through diet and behavioral asssesements. While many factors were at play (sex, age, education, alcohol, and smoking), researchers conclude there is a clear link between the consumption of trans fats and increased aggressive behavior.

Trans fats are considered the most dangerous fat to consume, given how it can negatively affect your cholesterol levels and, in return, increase your risk of heart disease. When trans fats are consumed, they can increase your LDL "bad" cholesterol levels while also lowering your HDL "good" cholesterol levels, making it all-around a negative fatty acid for your body to consume.

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This type of fatty acid can be found in foods that have been hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. This means that the unsaturated fatty acids in an item have been altered in order to keep foods from spoiling, and even keep certain foods solid at room temperature.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognized in 2015 that foods with partially-hydrogenated oils (a major source of trans-fatty acids) are no longer considered "safe" for the public to consume, and are banned on products found on shelves.

Margarine was often referred to as a top offender for trans-fatty acids due to partially-hydrogenated oils. However, a recent study was able to prove that margarine is actually "better aligned" with health guidelines in relation to cholesterol compared to normal butter, given that production of margarine has changed since FDA guideline shifts in 2015.

Nevertheless, even if foods no longer have such partially-hydrogenated oils in their foods, consumption of trans fats can still happen if a product has been hydrogenated—the process of adding hydrogen to vegetable oil in order to make a solid soft. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires packaged foods to still list trans fat in the Nutrition Facts label on a package. Types of foods that typically have trans-fats include processed cakes, cookies, baking mixes, fried foods, and packaged snack foods. Here's Why Some Foods Can Still Have Trans Fats, Even Though They're Banned.

While feelings of aggression have been linked to the consumption of trans-fatty acids, other studies also show an increased risk of depression—especially for adolescents.

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten