Just One Hamburger!

Just one hamburger isnít going to hurt, right? New research shows that in fact, that might be incorrect thinking. Now, the best way to think about diet and nutrition is moderation: everything in moderation--and that even the so called worst stuff for us isnít so bad if we donít overdo it. But the newest study showing what happens to your arteries after just one hamburger should give us all pause, and force us to realize that each burger does in fact have a direct and very real effect on the arteries. Your arteries are normally flexible and expandable, like a rubber band. But arteries that have been exposed to too much of the bad types of fats--saturated and trans fats--develop whatís called endothelial dysfunction. They become stiff, indistensible, and donít allow the blood to flow so easily.

Dr. Nate Lebowitz, a cardiologist at Englewood Medical Center, says, ďAnd we know that certain things lead to arterial dysfunction which makes it more likely that cholesterol is going to stick to the arteries and lead to blockages, we always have known that some people have very high cholesterol and never develop heart disease and some people have normal cholesterol and develop heart attacks at a young age, so we know that there Is a lot more to it than just cholesterol."

According to the study, even a single high-fat meal can affect the ability of the arteries to open up. The researchers determined this by using a blood pressure cuff to restrict blood flow and then monitoring the bodyís response following a meal high in saturated fat. After six hours, that one meal can also reduce the ability of the bodyís ďgoodĒ cholesterol, or HDL cholesterol, to protect the inner lining of the arteries from inflammatory agents that promote the formation of artery-clogging plaques.

ďThis is a flexible dynamic structure, and we always known that it is what we eat,Ē says Dr. Lebowitz. ďIf you have McDonalds or fast food on the fly on a daily basis you probably really are on an on going basis causing repeated insults to your arties and that is what ultimately leads to disease. This may actually signify that it might be repeated insults over time that might lead to long term arterial dysfunction, heart disease, vascular disease.Ē

 And remember that old potato chip ad? ďNo one can eat just one Layís potato chipĒ If thatís the case, maybe itís just better to avoid them, and other foods laden with saturated and trans fats altogether. Dr. Lebowitz says although one fatty meal splurged here and there will lead to some very transient and temporary arterial dysfunction, it probably wonít lead to disease as long fatty meals are once or twice a month as opposed to on a daily basis. Try to avoid fast foods, fried foods, and cut back on Crisco and animal fat and lard. Like youíve never heard that before.


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