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    Eat Like a Super Bowl Quarterback

    In 2004, football legend Joe Montana joined WebMD in a live event -- accompanied by cardiologist James Rippe, MD -- and offered up some tasty and nutritious recipes for your Super Bowl party.

    "Food can taste wonderful without being salty," said Rippe.

    "All of these recipes are either very low salt or no salt and low fat, yet they taste delicious. If you think that low- or no-salt food tastes bland, you should try some of these recipes. You'll be very pleasantly surprised."

    "I was blown away by the brownies," said Montana, who led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl victories.

    "I don't eat a lot of starches, but I do like potatoes, and must admit that the potato skin recipe is a great alternative with great flavor. I'm a difficult sell, when it comes to alternative for something I love to eat."

    First, Do No Harm

    Even if you're watching your weight and corralling your cholesterol, can you have your cake and eat it, too, on Super Bowl Sunday? Just maybe. A single day of splurging isn't necessarily going to derail all the New Year's resolutions you've made for your diet.

    "Of course, we've just finished Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, so think about how long it's been since the last splurge," advises Ruth Kava, PhD, RD, director of nutrition at the American Council on Science and Health. "But for someone whose weight is at a healthy level and who generally eats a balanced diet with moderate calories, fat, and sweets, and plenty of fruits and vegetables, then splurging one day a year or even a few days a year is probably not going to do any harm. Just try to eat very lightly on the following day or two."

    Nevertheless, a number of recent studies have shown that even one high-fat meal can cause at least temporary upheaval within your cardiovascular system. In 2002, researchers at Columbia University and Osaka City University in Japan published a study in which they gave 15 healthy young men a single high-fat meal composed of a colossal 1,200 calories, 100 grams of fat, and 6 milligrams of cholesterol. Five hours after they consumed the high-fat meal, their levels of triglycerides (a blood fat) increased an average of 140 points, compared with an increase of 10 points in men who ate a low-fat meal. At the same time, the capacity of the blood vessels to expand or dilate (an indicator of blood vessel health) declined 18% in the high-fat group.

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