By Sola Ogundipe
A new study suggests that fast-food breakfast sandwich has an
immediate negative effect on blood vessels. According to HealthDay,the research is preliminary and doesn’t compare the effect of eating a couple of fast-food breakfast sandwiches to a healthier choice such as yogurt and a banana.
Still, the study hints at the dangers of unhealthy food, said co-author Dr. Todd Anderson, director of the University of Calgary’s Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta.
“Even one episode of eating something unhealthy can have an effect,”he said, “and cumulatively, that can have an effect. Think before you eat.”
The purpose of the study was to examine what happens in the blood
vessels after someone eats a high-fat, high-salt meal.
The researchers recruited 20 healthy people, with an average age of 23, to undergo tests that measure how efficiently blood travels through the vessels in their forearms. Some students fasted while others ate two fast-food breakfast sandwiches, and then the groups switched.
Anderson declined to identify the brand of breakfast sandwich because, he said, its identity shouldn’t be a focus of the attention given to the research. However, he did say it’s a ham, cheese and egg sandwich — with 25 grams of fat and 450 calories — that “you could buy anyplace in America or Canada.”
Compared to the participants who hadn’t eaten recently, the blood
vessels of those who ate two breakfast sandwiches worked less efficiently two hours after the meal, Anderson said. “There was a decrease in the ability of the small vessels of the forearm to dilate and generate blood flow,” he explained.
This dilation — widening of the vessels — helps the blood get more oxygen to the body when you exercise. Other research has suggested that disruptions in this process over time make people more susceptible to develop strokes and heart attacks, Anderson said.
The study didn’t examine what would happen if someone ate a healthy meal. Anderson said previous research suggests healthy food wouldn’thave had a negative effect.
It’s also not clear what would happen if people ate this kind of food continuously, nor what different kinds of fast food (say, a hamburger and fries) would do to the blood vessels.