The knowledge that junk foods such as bacon cheeseburgers, fries, shakes, donuts and chips are detrimental to your health is no new revelation. These foods are packed with hydrogenated trans-fats, refined carbohydrates and sugars that boost blood pressure, increase blood glucose and flood cells with dysfunctional advanced glycation end products (AGE’s) that lead to suboptimal cellular function, genetic mutations and metabolic havoc.
Many people may be surprised to find out just how detrimental eating highly processed foods developed in a factory are to overall health, even when consumed infrequently. A research team from the University of Montreal in Canada has published the result of a study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology that shows how eating a single junk food meal composed mainly of saturated fat is detrimental to the health of the arteries. They also found that no damage occurs after consuming a Mediterranean meal rich in good fats such as mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
One junk food meal decreases vessel elasticity by nearly one-quarter to increase heart attack risk
Medical researchers have been studying the effects of different foods on the endothelium, the critical inner lining of the arteries that regulates the elasticity of vessels and rushes oxygenated blood to the cardiac muscle. Elevated, oxidized LDL cholesterol and triglycerides from a junk food diet causes the endothelium to become unstable, and elevated blood pressure results in micro cracks that can accumulate foamy plaque that burst leading to a heart attack.
Researchers developed a cohort of 28 healthy, non-smoking men who initially ate a Mediterranean-type meal and were then fed a junk food-type meal one week later. At the outset of the study, each participant underwent an ultrasound to determine endothelial function. The men first ate healthy foods including salmon, almonds, and vegetables cooked in olive oil. They were then subjected to a junk food meal including a sandwich made of a sausage, an egg, and a slice of cheese, and three hash browns. Each had an ultrasound at two and four hour intervals after eating to determine endothelial function.
The study team found that after eating the junk food meal, the arteries of the study participants dilated 24 percent less than they did when in the fasting state. In contrast, the arteries were found to dilate normally and maintain good blood flow after the Mediterranean-type meal. Study leader, Dr. Anil Nigam concluded “These results will positively alter how we eat on a daily basis. Poor endothelial function is one of the most significant precursors of atherosclerosis. It is now something to think about at every meal.” This study represents just one of many research bodies demonstrating that even small dietary indiscretions have potentially lethal consequences and can dramatically increase heart disease risk.
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