A Single Junk Food Meal Can Hurt Arteries

Posted 12/12/2012 | By HealthCorps

According to researchers at the University of Montreal-affiliated EPIC Center of the Montreal Heart Institute, just eating a single “splurge” high saturated fat meal can be detrimental to the health of your arteries.  Eating a high fat meal comprised of mostly mono-and polyunsaturated fats does not appear to cause similar damage.

The study aimed to compare the effects of a junk-filled meal versus a Mediterranean-based meal (typically high in healthier fats), in terms of the dilation or constriction of the arteries.  The researchers examined the participant’s arteries using ultrasound, and performed investigations on 28 healthy, non-smoking men.

Baseline scans were done after the men fasted.  The researchers then performed timed ultrasounds after the men consumed an initial meal that contained substantial amounts of the healthier fats, and then a subsequent less healthy meal high in saturated fat.  After consuming the high saturated fat meal, the arteries of the men dilated 24% less than when they were in a fasting state.  Arterial dilatation was normal post consumption of the Mediterranean-style meal.

The takeaway message is clear.  Most people assume that cumulative damage occurs only when you eat a regular diet of high fat, junk foods.  This study suggests that even one single high saturated fat meal can harm arterial health.

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