Too much fatty food could set children up for mental problems

by KTaggart on December 15, 2016 - 8:25pm


My article focuses on the impacts of a high-fat diet on children and adolescents and how that can affect the brain in the long run. Based on a study published by  Molecular Psychiatry, it is suggested that children with a diet consisting of too much fats, will not only run the risk of becoming obese but could develop cognitive and psychiatric problems in older age.  The study, performed in mice, show that as early as four weeks after the mice were fed fat foods they started showing signs of cognitive defect.  As observed in mice it has been seen that a protein known as reelin, whose primary function is the regulation of the prefrontal cortex, which is very vital for the personality expression, memory, and decision-making skills, is practically stunted due to the high fat. During the study, it was noted that the resilience of the prefrontal cortex was disrupted during the adolescent years (while on the high-fat diet) and surprising sprung back to normal when put back on a more balanced diet. While it is still unknown the full extent of a strict high-fat diet in human adolescents, there is a strong correlation between the brain functions of mice and that of humans. The brain remains of the greatest mysteries of the, not only human body but of all animals. How it functions, what fuels it, and how it runs are still unknown, but with each and every study, new properties are found. Reelin is quickly becoming to be known as one of the more important key players in the development and regulation of normal brain functions.

One of the biggest unknowns still, is why the unhealthy fats, in particular, have such a negative effect on developing brain and their functions. Since it can impair the area of the brain that seems to either degrade during the later stages of life and brings on the Alzheimer's disease, or can even bring on Schizophrenia during any stage in life. With not only the mental issues that it can cause, it also has adverse effects on the person's overall well-being in regards to obesity and other health effects. On the other hand, there is a diet based on an ingestion of fat foods that actually bring benefits for people with diabetes and even seizure disorder. On a ketogenic low carbohydrates/high fat, the daily food intake is basically made up by proteins and healthy fat (fat from animals, nuts, vegetables and fruits).

While there still more research that needs to be conducted on what the optimal diet ought to be for all individuals, it seems to be very reliant on the personals overall needs, such as if they have preexisting conditions or if they come from a healthy background or even age, people should be wary of what types of food they consume and how much. Is it worth the risk of deteriorating your mental health status as you grow older for a quick and tasty order from McDonald’s? Is it worth the risk of developing diabetes for the pleasure of eating the sweet, sugary taste of ice cream? The article caught my attention because it reinforces the need for a well-balanced diet for the health of body and mind. In today’s society is very easy and convenient to eat processed, fast foods, nobody wants to spend hours in the kitchen preparing a healthy food with natural ingredients. The problem is sooner or later the effects of those unhealthy choices are going to develop in the body. Eating healthy is not a guarantee of a 100% healthy life but it is, for sure, a start.



Hi Kheity,
This is an interesting article. I grew up in the late 50's and early 60's just when most mother's went to work and fast foods were all the rage. TV dinners and hamburger, french fry food chains were popping up all over the place. However I now utilize a mostly paleo diet which restricts carbs and only uses good fats (coconut oil, olive oil). Since there are definitely good fats vs bad fats I'm curious to know which were studied.

I'm also curious to know exactly what kind of fat they are talking about, Dr. Decker. I do believe that the research is about bad fats especially because of the part they say: "These findings may help explain how unhealthy foods and obesity are increasingly linked to the development of neuropsychiatric and neurological conditions."
I'm leaning towards the low carb-high fat in my personal life and I can notice a difference in how my body reacts when I eat too much carbs for example. I believe that natural food is the way to go.

This article is definitely referring to the unhealthy fats like saturated fats and trans fats, which are really bad for you. I can definitely see how high consumption of these fatty, processed, and unhealthy foods can impair brain performance. The old saying, "you are what you eat" is really true. If we put junk into our body, our body will perform and function like crap, including our brains. However, there are also good fats like the ones Dr. Decker mentioned. Not all fats and not all carbs are created equal. There are good and bad kinds of each. Complex carbs are the kind that our bodies like. How low does low carb mean to you? I'm just curious. I believe natural food is the way to go, too. I am trying to make the shift from vegetarian to vegan, but it's not easy for me because I love cheese and I love creamer in my coffee.

At this point, I'm trying no to eat bread, potatoes, rice and pasta. It is not a large list of foods but those were my main source of carbs and I'm feeling much better substituting toast for just eggs in the morning for example. I think people need to know that eating healthy does not mean eating bland, flavorless food.

Obesity of youth is almost becoming a global health issue, but we only discuss diabetic related problems. Not about the brain development or relation with mental illnesses. This article give us new prospectives. Another reason to reconsider our food, life style, and economy vs. family life.
In adolescence, say if you are a member of sports team, team, both boy and girl, a young person could eat real well.
Since their body is growing, no one really objects on that, as long as it is not excessive to only one direction.
Fat is everywhere. Even you don't go to Macdonald's everyday, you could still have plenty of fat in daily meals. Fat (and sugar) , along with other preservatives, makes food shelf life longer and its cheap to produce. Not only fried foods or junk food, but any baked goods, pizza, sandwiches, salad dressings, frozen food and any kinds of prepared foods have tons of fat (and sugar). Especially what school cafeterias are serving to kids is something to think about.
When both of parents are working, and each family member has different schedules in a day,
how adolescents can pick right food and feeling good after the school or sports? It is not so easy.
I personally eat brown rice, bake own bread, eat fish at least 3 times a week, vegetarian meals 2 times a week.
I don't buy prepared food, not even salad dressings. When I pick a new product, I read label before I buy which many of us do.
But if I am a teenager, I don't think I can do what I do now alone. Needs family to support a good eating habits, because eating well in balanced meal takes learning and planning. I don't think anything of too much can be good when it comes to food (not just fat and sugar). Balance and variety!

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