Healthy fast food bad for heart

The so-called “healthy” meal options at fast food restaurants may not be so healthy after all. New research suggests that “healthy” fast food meals have the same effect on your cardiovascular system as the regular burger, chips and a coke.

A single fast-food meal impairs endothelial function, lead investigator Dr Tanja K. Rudolph, from the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, told Reuters Health.

Endothelial function is a measure of the activity of endothelial cells that line the inside of the blood vessels. These cells control blood flow by regulating the dilation of the blood vessels.

Clogs arteries
Impaired endothelial function, which is considered to be a marker for cardiovascular disease, can lead to high blood pressure or atherosclerosis, in which the arteries become clogged by plaque, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Rudolph and colleagues measured the initial endothelial function and other markers of cardiovascular disease in 24 healthy volunteers (average age of 32 years) who followed no particular diet and took no vitamin supplements.

The 14 women and 10 men then ate one of three readily available fast food meals during one week, a different meal the second week and the remaining meal the third week.

The meals consisted of a beef burger, fries, ketchup, and a lemon-flavored carbonated drink; a vegetarian burger, fries, ketchup, and a lemon-flavored carbonated drink; or a vegetarian burger plus salad, fruit, yoghurt, and orange juice, the researchers report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Healthy meals also bad for heart
Unexpectedly, the researchers found that endothelial function was adversely affected within two and four hours after eating each of the three meals, with no statistically significant differences among them. Furthermore, all three meals had a negative impact on other cardiovascular disease markers as well, Rudolph said.

"When we planned the study, our hypothesis was that "healthy" components like orange juice or salad would be able to prevent impairment of endothelial function," Rudolph noted, "But we could not show this."

"You cannot prevent the harmful effects of fast food to the vascular system if you only add 'healthy components'," Rudolph concluded. (Joene Hendry/Reuters Health)

SOURCE: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2007.

Read more:
Fast food risks confirmed
Fast food without the fat

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
10% - 1039 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
51% - 5301 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
36% - 3688 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
3% - 347 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.16
+0.3%
Rand - Pound
19.75
+0.3%
Rand - Euro
16.69
+0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.47
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.0%
Gold
1,787.93
-0.2%
Silver
20.53
-0.3%
Palladium
2,255.50
0.0%
Platinum
961.00
+1.5%
Brent Crude
97.40
+1.1%
Top 40
63,597
+0.7%
All Share
70,207
+0.7%
Resource 10
64,957
+0.7%
Industrial 25
85,355
+0.9%
Financial 15
15,808
+0.3%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE