Eating a Fatty Meal Affects Your Concentration, According to Study

More reason to avoid saturated fat.

Ever had a really satisfying fat-filled meal?—only to feel like you're having an out-of-body experience after? It's not just in your head. According to a study by Ohio State University, eating a fatty meal does affect your ability to focus.

The study had a group of participants eat a meal high in saturated fat, and take a test on attention after. As you can expect, it didn't go well. The participant's performance on the test was worse after the meal, and the university says it's all because of a link between fatty food and the brain.

Researchers blame the fact that food high in saturated fat can drive up inflammation in the body, including the brain. "It could be that fatty acids are interacting with the brain directly. What it does show is the power of gut-related dysregulation," lead author Annelise Madison said.

It's not just our ability to concentrate that's affected. There's an even more mental aspect to it.

"What we know is that when people are more anxious, a good subset of us will find high-saturated-fat food more enticing than broccoli," she said. "We know from other research that depression and anxiety can interfere with concentration and attention as well. When we add that on top of the high-fat meal, we could expect the real-world effects to be even larger."

If you can't cut out saturated fat altogether, at least avoid it before a task that needs your full attention. Here's a pro-tip: Save the fast-food meal after as a reward.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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