Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Worst Thing You Could Ever Eat

The worst thing you could ever eat is carrot cake, a milkshake or any other food loaded with saturated fat. In other words, anything good.

Even occasional treats like these are enough to diminish your body's ability to defend itself against heart disease is the discouraging word from researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia.

HealthDay News reports that the small study was led by Dr. David Celermajer, a professor of cardiology, and involved just 14 participants, all of whom were healthy and between the ages of 18 and 40. Each of the 14 people ate a fat-laden feast of one piece of high-fat carrot cake and a milkshake containing a total of 68 grams of fat.

The result? The sudden infusion of saturated fat compromised their arteries' ability to expand to increased blood flow. It also hindered the effects of the "good" HDL cholesterol to protect the inner lining of the arteries from inflammatory agents that promote the build-up of fatty plaques, which over time clog blood vessels and cause heart disease.

One month later, the same group of 14 volunteers ate another piece of carrot cake and drank a milkshake, but this time the treats were made with polyunsaturated safflower oil that contained just 9 percent fat, compared with the first meal's 90 percent saturated fat. The anti-inflammatory properties improved after the healthier polyunsaturated fat meal. While the negative heart health effects of high-fat foods are probably temporary, Celermajer is concerned because it occurs over and over, each time a person eats a high-fat meal.

In what foods does saturated fat lurk?

  • Meat
  • Full-fat milk
  • Full-fat dairy products, especially ice cream
  • Processed foods and snacks

The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

--From the Editors at Netscape