Healthier fast foods still bad for your heart

August 16, 2007 in Healthy Eating, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Healthier fast foods still bad for your heart

If you think you're going to do your heart a favor by choosing a veggie burger over your usual fast food burger, think again. According to a new study show, the harmful effects of fast food can't be avoided by substituting "healthier" options.

In a 3-week study, 24 healthy adults ate one of three fast food meals every day for one week, switching every week. The first meal consisted of a beef burger with fries, ketchup and a carbonated drink.  The second was a veggie burger with fries, ketchup and a carbonated drink. The third meal was a veggie burger with salad, yogurt and orange juice.

The investigators thought that "healthier" choices such as orange juice and salad would prevent cardiovascular damage but, surprisingly, all three meals had a similar impact on heart health.  Within 2 to 4 hours of eating any of the three meals, all subjects showed impaired blood flow which can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.

The bottom line: having just one fast food meal immediately affects markers of heart health, even if you opt for the so-called "healthy" meal.  

In our opinion, though, if you do eat fast food you're still better off choosing menu items that are free of trans fat (e.g. fries!) and lower in cholesterol-raising saturated fat (e.g. meat and cheese!).

This study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.