I've written before about research showing that just one high fat meal can cause arteries to stiffen for a few hours after slugging down the lard. The medical folks call this artery stiffening "endothelial dysfunction".
The first thing most people think of is, "so what. I only eat high fat meals occasionally". Usually the infamous, "it's just one time" excuse is rolled out.
You've heard me address this jewel before.. yeah, it was just one time last week. And the week before. Oh, right.. that wedding last month.. nice buffet! Christmas.. huge spread this year. Office party, Superbowl party, birthday party.. you get the picture.
Then there's the "treat" thing. Yeah I know.. I like to treat myself a little now then.. I know I should cut back, but it's.. it's just a treat and I deserve a treat!
No doubt the food tastes good. But is fat gain a treat? Are high triglycerides, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure a treat? "Cris, you're a patronizing jerk!" Yeah, I hear that sometimes, or sometimes that sentiment is so strong I don't need to hear it, I can taste it. Most of the time though it's just laughed off because there isn't a strong connection with the real and immediate health risks associated with overeating.. overeating has a well established reward profile.
When I was a smoker I had the same defence when someone would say I should quit smoking.
I don't see smoking as a "treat" anymore, and the very thought of assigning cancer sticks the "treat" moniker is simply insane.
The latest research shows that one high fat meal increases inflammatory responses that lead to clogging arteries; in this case the study fed a serving consisting of two breakfast sandwiches, hash browns, and an orange juice from a fast food restaurant to willing study subjects.
The most interesting part of what was discovered was that if your waist girth was greater than 32 inches and you already had high triglycerides, you had a greater inflammatory response.
What's worrisome is that the inflammatory response that's causes here is a specific kind of lipoprotein increases and this is directly related to making fats stick to arterial walls, or "clogging arteries".
It's a self feeding mechanism.. overeating causes fat gain and rise in blood triglycerides. Having increased abdominal fat and high triglycerides increases the artery clogging effect of overeating, and every time a high fat meal is consumed, this process occurs.
Endothelial inflammation correlates with subject triglycerides and waist size following a high fat meal — AJP - Heart
Is there anything that can be done about this?
Practice disassociating reward with high fat meals.
Eating healthy is the real treat. Eat healthy, tasty meals and eat less.
We'll feel great, have more energy, and won't feel trapped by thinking we need high fat unhealthy foods to feel rewarded. Oh yeah.. and we won't have high tryglicerides, clogged arteries, or be overweight.. that's worth more than a high fat meal.. isn't it?