A newly published report in the Laboratory Investigation journal details a study that indicates the effect that a single meal containing a high volume of fat can have on the blood vessels of healthy male subjects.
The fact that consuming a diet high in fat and cholesterol raises the risk of heart diseases is news to no one, but the knowledge that only one high-fat meal can cause noticeable negative effects for some will be a frightening surprise.
The study that demonstrates the danger of high-fat meal choices was conducted at the Medical College of Georgia, located in Augusta, Georgia, and was authored by doctoral student Tyler W. Benson.
Benson and other researchers taking part in the program dived 10 healthy men who exercised regularly and showed no signs of heart disease or increases blood levels of lipids or cholesterol, into two groups.
Five of the men were given a milkshake with an extremely high-fat content. The content of fat in the drink was tailored to be proportionate to the body weight of each individual.
The second group of men was given a meal to eat that contained little fat but the same caloric content.
Tests that were taken four hours after the meals were eaten identified serious changes to the red blood cells of the men that consumed the high-fat milkshake. Most notably, the cells changed shape and decreased in size.
Dr. Julia E. Brittain, a contributing author of the study, explains that after a high-fat meal the red blood cells develop spikes on them that are harmful to blood vessels and lay the groundwork for cardiovascular disease.
The research also found that high-fat consumption caused an increase in an enzyme known as myeloperoxidase which has been associated with causing the blood vessels to lose elasticity and the development of artherosclerosis.
The good news that comes from the study is that the damaging effects of a single high-fat meal seem to be quickly and totally reversible.
The study observed that the body also increased the release of white blood cells in a way that is identical to its response to infection.
Researchers note that the negative effects caused by a high-fat meal can be reversed by the body in as little as eight hours. However, researchers want it to be clear that repeatedly eating meals high in fat are likely to cause long-lasting damage.
Dr. Brittain says that the bottom line is that the body is equipped to fight off a single, unhealthy meal choice but will eventually wear down if these meals are eaten again and again.