If you regularly take breaks from your healthy diet and allow for ‘cheat days,’ a new study might make you reconsider.
The study, from researchers at the University of Montreal, shows that just one junk food meal can clog arteries and decrease blood flow.
Study participants were fed two meals, two weeks apart: One full of unhealthy saturated fats, and the other with monounsaturated fats containing omega-3 fatty acids.
When participants ate salmon, almonds, and vegetables cooked in olive oil, they maintained good blood flow, and their arteries dilated normally.
But when they ate a sandwich made of sausage, egg and cheese’with a side of hash browns’their arteries dilated less.
This study adds to a growing body of research touting the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, which includes vegetables, healthy fats, beans, legumes and fish.
More importantly, it shows that healthy eating is a lifestyle that has to be maintained every day.
“These results will positively alter how we eat on a daily basis. Poor endothelial function is one of the most significant precursors of atherosclerosis. Dr. Anil Nigam, Director of Research at the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Centre, told Science Daily.
In other words, the way our arteries function now determines whether or not they will harden in the future‘a condition that can cause a variety of health complications.
‘It is now something to think about at every meal,” says Nigam.
Do you indulge in ‘cheat days?’ Will you be more conscious of what you eat at every meal after reading about the immediate negative effects junk food can have on your health?
-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor