Study finds that just one high-fat meal can affect your heart health

Eat a breakfast sandwich and your body will be feeling the ill effects well before lunch – now that's fast food!

High-fat diets are associated with developing atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) over a lifetime. 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 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.

Atherosclerosis can eventually lead to serious problems including , stroke or even death.

Delegates at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress heard today about a study at Dr. Anderson's lab, led by student researcher Vincent Lee. The key ingredients: breakfast sandwiches and a group of healthy, non-smoking university students.

Fats can build up in your arteries over decades. One important gauge of how "happy" your arteries feel 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 at rest and then after a blood pressure cuff been inflated.

"VTI tells us how much blood flow you can you get in your arm," says Dr. Anderson. The higher the better, which means the small vessels can dilate to capacity, and the blood vessel hormones are working well.

So what would happen to the university students after starting their day with a breakfast of fat champions?

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.

The 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, reports Dr. Anderson.

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.

"I won't say don't ever have a breakfast sandwich," says Dr. Anderson. But enough of a diet like that, and you can see how you can build up fat in the walls of your arteries.

Dr. Anderson is also co-chair of the group that updated the Canadian Lipid Guidelines (on managing and treating high blood cholesterol), presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

"This study reminds us that our behaviours are the backbone of preventing heart disease," says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson.

"Remember that whether you eat at home or go to a restaurant, you're still in charge of what you eat. So consider all the choices, and try to cut down on saturated and trans fats, calories and sodium. That's one of the keys to decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke."

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Ratfish
5 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2012
It is unwise to extrapolate from a "commercially available breakfast sandwich" (that is probably loaded with trans fats among other things) to fat in general. FAT is not simply a nutritional monolith, but is actually comprised of many different fatty acids that have different metabolic pathways and consequences.
squalidozzi
5 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2012
This would be interesting except that a breakfast sandwich isn't all fat. Clearly the bun is all carbohydrates. How can the researchers say with certainty that fat is causing the change in VTI when the subjects aren't eating just fat?

I would also agree with Ratfish that a commercially available version probably has all kinds of other components which aren't being accounted for.
RazorsEdge
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2012
How can you compare fat with starvation? What would the VTI be with a Breakfast of Champions or anything else? The study is ludicrous.
riogranderift
2.8 / 5 (5) Oct 30, 2012
The fact that these guys chose to study a product of big buisiness rather than their mom's high fat breakfast of whole milk, eggs, bacon and toast with butter speaks volumes about their political orientation.
casualjoe
5 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2012
Processed cheese is worse for you than good ol' cheese. Nothing wrong with highlighting that fact, ever heard of 'yellow'?
ziphead
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 30, 2012
How on Earth am I still alive, I will never know...
Lukaz
5 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2012
Why would they compare eating a high fat breakfast only to eating no breakfast at all? Wouldn't it also make sense to include a measurement of VTI two hours after eating a healthy breakfast?
RichMurray
1 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2012
Also harmful for blood vessel linings is any breakfast aspartame, which adds a lot to chronic methanol toxicity, as do any fruits juices vegetables preserved wet in cans jars plastics -- A pack of unfiltered cigarettes gives as much methanol as a quart of diet drink, 60 mg -- Many dark wines and liquors contain more methanol than aspartame diet drinks -- fruit brandies are worse, and well known for their severe hangovers. Methanol (wood alcohol) is made into formaldehyde inside cells by ADH1 enzyme in 19 specific human tissues, causing 19 modern novel "diseases of civilization", ranging from Alzheimers and MS to heart and blood vessel diseases to cancers to birth defects, autism and spina bifida. WhileScienceSleeps dot com -- 745 free online full text medical research references -– TheTruthAboutStuff dot com Prof. Woodrow C. Monte, Food Science and Nutrition, Arizona State University, retired 2004 -- rmforall.blogspot.com Rich Murray
HealingMindN
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2012
We need more information. What counts as a "breakfast sandwich?" What are all the key components? How was it prepared? How does that "breakfast sandwich" compare to a wholesome high fat meal like wild pacific caught herb and lemon broiled salmon a la hollandaise topped with avocado slices with pastured, organic grass fed london-broiled tenderloin a la bernaise on the side?
Shootist
2 / 5 (4) Oct 30, 2012
How on Earth am I still alive, I will never know...


Exactly my thoughts.
indio007
1 / 5 (2) Oct 31, 2012
I want happy blood vessels!

Don't you????
Stop eating meat!

Seriously ? this is science?

"One important gauge of how "happy" your arteries feel 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."

Is there data demonstrating a direct causation by intermittent VTI spikes to heart disease?

Not that I know of.
Tom_Hennessy
1 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2012
A similar study was conducted ten years ago.
"Blood Flow to Heart Hampered After High-Fat Meal"

They've shown , though , if one has sufficient lecithin in the body , the effects are mitigated by almost ten times.
"Dr. William Delamater, reported that in older people, if sufficient lecithin was present in the blood, the blood fat level returned to normal in about three hours after a high fat meal. But, if there wasn't sufficient lecithin in the blood, fat and cholesterol levels remained high for as long as twenty hours."

ziphead
1 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2012
And maybe too obvious to ask, but how do the researchers *know* that the reduced blood flow is a direct result of changes in vascular walls (which what they seem to be suggesting :)?

The reduction in blood flow could also be due to a transient increase of blood viscosity with all that fat consumed at once.
stripeless_zebra
1 / 5 (1) Nov 04, 2012
One Happy Meal can make your blood vessels unhappy. Is that their conclusion?
IronhorseA
not rated yet Nov 04, 2012
The body tends to divert blood flow to parts that need it more than others, for example the gut after a heavy meal. Perhaps a better experiment would be to measure the VTI between the 900 calorie breakfast sandwich meal and a 900 calorie healthy meal.
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1 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2012
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