High Fat Breakfast Can Hurt Your Arteries
October 31, 2012

Breakfast Sandwiches Considered To Be A Ticking Time Bomb For Your Arteries

Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online

It´s just like momma used to say: “You only think you love eating that breakfast sandwich now. Wait until it´s eating you!”

The notion that we should all be eating better isn´t lost on the majority of the population. The gospel of healthy diet has become as widespread as good manners or the golden rule. We all know what we SHOULD do and are able, at a moment´s notice, to lecture one another about how we should be eating. Yet, the chasm between saying and doing is never as wide as it is in the mornings when time is short and the donut place is nearby.

One Canadian doctor wanted to study the health effects of grabbing one of those heavy, glistening breakfast sandwiches in the morning and, as you might expect, the results aren´t appetizing.

High fat diets are known to be a fast track to narrow arteries, or atherosclerosis. As anyone who has seen any fast food documentary can tell you, these diets can wreak havoc on the ticker, and once atherosclerosis kicks in, other heart diseases and strokes appear on the horizon.

According to Dr. Todd Anderson, a researcher with the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the head of cardiac science at the University of Calgary, eating just one breakfast sandwich in the morning can make your blood vessels “unhappy.” If this meat, egg and cheese on a bun (or worse, a croissant) becomes routine, atherosclerosis is not far behind.

To study the effects of these breakfast buns and other high fat diets, Dr. Anderson and lead student researcher Vincent Lee gathered together a group of healthy, non-smoking students and several of the sandwiches.

These students were studied twice, once on a day where they hadn´t had any breakfast and again on a day where they had eaten 2 of these sandwiches earlier that morning. These 2 sandwiches alone (with no accompanying fried sides or cola) tipped the scales at 900 calories and 50 grams of fat.

Dr. Anderson and Lee then studied the vascular health of these students by measuring velocity time integral, or VTI. VTI is way to measure how “happy” your blood vessels are by determining how much blood is able to get through the veins in between heart pumps.

The higher VTI, the more blood is able to pass through the veins. Therefore, the more blood, the happier the blood vessels, and since we all know that fat can clog these vessels, a high fat diet can lead to a lower VTI.

After analyzing the students´ VTI, Dr. Anderson discovered that on the breakfast sandwich days, their VTI dropped by 15 to 20%.

These results were temporary, of course, and only occurred immediately following the fatty meal.

But, as Dr. Anderson points out, this study proves that even one meal can have a great effect on health and do it more quickly than many may have previously thought.

“I won´t say don´t ever have a breakfast sandwich,” said Dr. Anderson, pointing out that making a habit of grabbing one of these fatty, cheesy sandwiches could build up the fat in your arteries, and do it rather quickly.

Dr. Beth Abramson, a spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, reminds us that even our simple, every day decisions can have long term effects on our health.

“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.”