DRIVE-THROUGH BREAKFAST LEADS TO CLOGGED-UP #ARTERIES

Your fast-fat-food breakfast sandwich may be an arterial time bomb in a bun.

High-fat diets are known to contribute to atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) over a lifetime.  How the inner linings (endothelial function) of blood vessels work is linked to long-term risk of coronary artery disease.

A Canadian study shows that your body’s reaction to a fast-food breakfast is also fast–by lunchtime, your body will be experiencing a clogging of the arteries.

After just one day of eating a fat-heavy breakfast sandwich of meat and processed cheese on a bun, “Your blood vessels become unhappy,” says Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher Dr Todd Anderson, director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and head of cardiac science at the University of Calgary.

Anderson’s team studied the velocity of blood flow in the arms of a group of healthy, non-smoking university students once on a day they’d had no breakfast and again on a day after they’d consumed two commercially available breakfast sandwiches.

The sandwiches held a total of 900 calories and 50 grams of fat, the entire day’s recommended consumption of fat by a 155-pound individual.

Only two hours after consuming the breakfast sandwiches, the blood flow in the students’ arms was significantly reduced, “. . .  which tells us the small vessels in the arm aren’t able to dilate as much and therefore blood flow doesn’t increase as much down the arm,” said Anderson.  In fact, the arteries dilated 24% less than they had before the high-fat meal.

He said the findings don’t suggest that people should never have a breakfast sandwich but that they do show that every dietary choice has an impact, one way or the other, on our health.

Though the bodies’ response was almost immediate, it was temporary.

“This study reminds us that our behaviors are the backbone of preventing heart disease,” Dr Beth Abramson, a Toronto cardiologist and Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson, said in a press release.

“So consider all the choices and try to cut down on saturated and trans fats, calories and sodium.  That’s one of the keys to decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.”

Vincent Lee, a student research, was the primary scientist on the study.  Lee used the work as his honors project for his bachelor of health sciences degree.

My Take on the study: Though the director declined to identify the source of the sandwich meal, I think a clue may lie in his describing the participants’ arteries as being “unhappy” as opposed to “happy.”

Sources:   Huffington Post.ca, October 30, 2012    Discovery News, November 1, 2012    Science Newsline, Medicine & Health Care, October 31, 2012                  Study presented October 30, 2012 to the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress

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