Fatty foods have an almost immediate negative effect on short-term memory and exercise performance, British researchers say.
The study included rats that were fed a low-fat diet and trained to complete a challenging maze and to run on a treadmill. Half the rats were then switched to a high-fat diet. In subsequent maze and treadmill tests, the rats on the high-fat diet had poorer memory and muscle performance than the rats that kept eating a low-fat diet, The New York Times reported.
"We expected to see changes, but maybe not so dramatic and not in such a short space of time,'' study lead author Andrew Murray, a lecturer in physiology at Cambridge University, told the Times. "It was really striking how quickly these effects happened.''
The findings appear in The Faseb Journal, published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
Murray and his colleagues found that high-fat diets had similar effects in humans, but those findings haven't yet been published.