A chocolate milkshake may be blissful for your taste buds, but it's not so good for your blood vessels.
A small new study suggests that just a single, high-fat meal or food, such as a milkshake, can lead to unhealthy changes in your blood vessels and red blood cells.
In the study, researchers had 10 healthy men drink a milkshake made with whole milk, whipped cream and ice cream; The shake contained 80 grams of fat and 1,000 calories. Four hours later, laboratory tests revealed evidence that the men's blood vessels were less able to relax (or expand) and that some of their red blood cells changed and became "prickly" rather than smooth.
"Their red blood cells are usually beautiful and smooth and beautiful, and the cells, after consuming a high-fat meal, get those spikes on them that could affect blood flow," Julia Brittain, professor of cell biology and anatomy at Medical College of Georgia at the University of Augusta (1
"The message from home is that your body can normally handle it if you do not repeat it at the next meal and the next and next," said Brittain. The researchers added that their findings could help explain isolated reports of death or heart attack in humans immediately after eating an extremely high-fat meal.
The men in the study also had transient elevations in the levels of an enzyme called myeloperoxidase. This is associated with stiff blood vessels and heart attacks in humans.
It is important to note that the study was very small and researchers are not sure if the spiny blood cells are harmful to people's vascular health. Future studies will be needed to further investigate these effects.
However, in studies on mice, the researchers found earlier that if the animals were continuously fed a high-fat diet, they had permanent changes in the shape of their red blood cells, which triggered an immune response that could lead to cardiovascular disease. Diseases could contribute.
The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults limit their fat intake to 20 to 35 percent of their daily calorie intake. (For a person consuming a 2000 calorie diet, the Mayo Clinic would consume about 44 to 78 grams of fat per day.)
The study was published on March 23 in the journal Laboratory Investigation released. Original article on Live Science .