Fast Food Breakfast Triggers Inflammation
High-Fat, High-Carb Breakfast May Raise Heart Risks
April 19, 2004 -- Eating breakfast on the run may be bad for
your heart. A new study shows a typical high-fat, high-carbohydrate fast food
breakfast can overwhelm the body's blood vessels and cause potentially
Researchers found an egg muffin and hash brown breakfast
dramatically raised inflammatory markers in the blood for up to four hours
after eating the meal.
"People who experience repeated short-lived bouts of
inflammation resulting from many such unhealthy meals can end up with blood
vessels in a chronic state of inflammation, a primary factor in the development
of atherosclerosis," says researcher Ahmad Aljada, PhD, research assistant
professor at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical
Sciences, in a news release.
Atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries leads to clogged
arteries and heart disease.
Fast Food Breakfast Bombards Blood Vessels
In the study, nine healthy adults ate a fast food breakfast
consisting of an egg muffin, a sausage muffin, and two hash browns after not
eating overnight. Then they had their blood analyzed. The fast food breakfast
contained 910 calories, 81 grams of carbohydrates, 51 grams of fat, and 32
grams of protein.
Researchers found that levels of inflammatory markers increased
significantly and remained elevated for three to four hours after eating the
"Eating that 900-calorie, high-fat meal temporarily floods
the blood stream with inflammatory components, overwhelming the body's natural
inflammation-fighting mechanisms," says Aljada.
In addition free radicals increased by more than 100% and
stayed elevated for more than three hours after eating the breakfast. Free
radicals are destructive particles that have been linked to a higher risk of
The results of the study appear in the April issue of the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Researchers say the influx of fat, calories, protein, and
carbohydrates caused by eating a fast food breakfast may alter the behavior of
cells and activate a mechanism that produces more powerful enzymes that are
potentially damaging to the lining of blood vessels.