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Alterations in mood after changing to a low-fat diet

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2007

Anita S. Wells*
Centre for Human Nutrition, University of Sheffield, Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7AU, UK
Nicholas W. Read
Centre for Human Nutrition, University of Sheffield, Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7AU, UK
Jonathan D. E. Laugharne
University Department of Psychiatry, Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7AU, UK
N. S. Ahluwalia
University Department of Psychiatry, Northern General Hospital, Herries Road, Sheffield S5 7AU, UK
*Corresponding author:Ms A.S. Wells, fax + 44 (0)114 2610112; email
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The effects on mood of reducing dietary fat while keeping the energy constant were examined in ten male and ten female healthy volunteers aged between 20 and 37 years. Each volunteer consumed a diet containing 41% energy as fat for 1 month. For the second month half of the subjects changed to a low-fat diet (25% energy from fat) and the remainder continued to eat the diet containing 41% energy from fat. Changes in mood and blood lipid concentrations were assessed before, during and at the end of the study. Profile of mood states (POMS) ratings of anger–hostility significantly increased in the intervention group after 1 month on the low-fat diet, while during the same period there was a slight decline in anger–hostility in the control subjects (group F 6.72; df 1,14; P = 0.021). Tension–anxiety ratings declined in the control group consuming the higher fat diet but did not change in the group consuming the low-fat diet (group F 6.34; df 1,14; P = 0.025). There was a decline in fasting concentrations of HDL-cholesterol after the low-fat diet and a small increase in subjects consuming the medium-fat diet (group F 4.96; df 1,12; P = 0.046), but no significant changes in concentrations of total serum cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol or triacylglycerol were observed. The results suggest that a change in dietary fat content from 41 to 25% energy may have adverse effects on mood. The alterations in mood appear to be unrelated to changes in fasting plasma cholesterol concentrations.

Human and Clinical Nutrition
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 1998


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