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Study dubs breakfast sandwich a 'time bomb in a bun'

Written by: QMI Agency
Oct. 31, 2012

A sign for a breakfast sandwich is seen outside a Tim Hortons. (File Photo)

If you start your day with a breakfast sandwich, your blood vessels will start clogging before lunch, a new study has found.

Just one day of eating processed cheese, eggs and meat on a bun, and "your blood vessels become unhappy," said Dr. Todd Anderson of the University of Calgary, who is also director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and a Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher.

Anderson and his colleagues tested the effects of breakfast sandwiches on normal, healthy university students. They studied the students twice — once on a day when they ate no breakfast, and once on a day when they ate two breakfast sandwiches, totalling 900 calories and 50 g of fat.

They checked up on the students by measuring their blood vessels' velocity time integral (VTI), which Anderson described as "how much blood flow you can get in your arm." The higher the VTI, the healthier the blood vessels.

Just two hours after eating the breakfast sandwiches, the students' VTI decreased by 15-20%.

Anderson said a one-day drop in VTI won't kill you, but if it happens regularly — say, if an Egg McMuffin is your go-to morning snack — the fat will build up in the walls of your arteries.

The effect was so swift, the study dubbed the meal "a time bomb in a bun."

"I won't say don't ever have a breakfast sandwich," Anderson said.

But the study says high-fat diets put people at risk of developing atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the arteries linked to heart disease, stroke and sometimes death.

"This study reminds us that our behaviours are the backbone of preventing heart disease," said Dr. Beth Abramson, spokeswoman for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

"Remember that whether you eat at home or go to a restaurant, you're still in charge of what you eat. So consider all the choices, and try to cut down on saturated and trans fats, calories and sodium. That's one of the keys to decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.

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