Eating just one fast food breakfast sandwich hard on arteries

November 2, 2012 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Eating just one fast food breakfast sandwich hard on arteries

High-fat diets are associated with developing atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) over a lifetime. Atherosclerosis can eventually lead to serious problems including heart disease, stroke or even death. But how quickly can damage start?

Just one day of eating a fat-laden breakfast sandwich - processed cheese and meat on a bun - and "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.

This finding was presented this week at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

The objective of this study was to assess the acute effects of just one high-fat meal on microvascular function, an indicator of overall vascular (blood vessel) health.

One gauge of vascular health is how much blood flow can increase in your arm in response to its brief interruption - measured as VTI (velocity time integral). You can measure VTI with doppler ultrasound at rest and then after a blood pressure cuff been inflated. The higher the blood flow the better; this means the small vessels can dilate to capacity, and the blood vessel hormones are working well.

Healthy university students were studied twice, once on a day they had no breakfast, and once on a day when they consumed two commercially available breakfast sandwiches, total of 900 calories and 50 g of fat. Two hours after eating the sandwiches, their VTI had decreased by 15-20 per cent.

From just one isolated meal, the results are temporary. But the study shows that such a high-fat offering can do more harm, and do it more quickly, than people might think.

A steady intake of breakfast sandwiches can promote the build up fat in the walls of your arteries.

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.