Study looks at the impact of fast-food fat on heart health
Published Tuesday, October 30, 2012 2:30PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 30, 2012 6:47PM MDT
Scientists have compiled a significant amount of evidence illustrating the negative impact of fatty foods on the human heart and now a Calgary research group says those effects can be seen immediately.
A study is underway at the University of Calgary to measure how quickly damage occurs in the arteries after consuming a high-fat meal.
Healthy, non-smoking university students were sampled and researchers asked them to eat two fast-food breakfast sandwiches containing processed cheese and meat.
Two hours later, researchers checked to see how the student’s blood vessels were functioning by measuring the blood flow in their arms.
They discovered that the blood was not flowing as easily as it was before the sandwiches were ingested.
“After these two breakfast sandwiches, with 50 grams of fat, there was a 15% decrease in the function of small blood vessels,” explains Dr. Todd Anderson of the Libin Institute at the University of Calgary. “They were normal function at baseline. After just two hours, there was impairment of blood vessel function as a result of this food they took in.”
The students were studied twice; once when they had no breakfast and once after eating the 900 calories sandwiches.
“We can't get away with anything when it comes to our health,” says Dr. Billie-Jean Martin of the Libin Institute at the University of Calgary. “Even one of these sandwiches does have an immediate impact as we can see.”
Blood vessels that are not working at full capacity can increase a person’s risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Researchers found the participants blood vessels would return to normal six hours after consuming the sandwiches but they believe that significant exposure to fatty food could lead to significant long term damage.