Diet & Heart Health: How Just One High-Fat Meal Can Set the Stage for Heart Disease by Mei Marcie
What can one high-fat meal do to you? A recent study by the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) in Augusta set out to investigate the effects of eating (just one!) high-fat meal. Ten healthy men were separated into two groups, with one group drinking a super-high-fat milkshake (whole milk, heavy whipping cream and ice cream) and the other a low-fat meal with the same calories (three big bowls of sugar-coated flakes with no-fat milk).
In the group that consumed the milkshake, the red blood cells got smaller and changed from smooth round to a spiky shape. There was also an increase in an enzyme myeloperoxidase that is linked to to heart attack, increased oxidation and stiffer blood vessels. Not only did the red blood cells change, the white blood cells also had an increase in monocytes, which are pro-inflammatory as the body seems to recognize "harmful red blood cells" to fight off.
While the cells reversed to normal after four to eight hours, it is likely that there is damage caused by sustained intake of high-fat meals. Moreover, given the drastic change, it is also possible that eating a super high-fat meal may cause a heart attack for certain at-risk individuals. This really reminds us not to keep stressing our body with what it can't take!
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