One Meal to Good (or Bad) Health
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008
Want to know how many cheeseburgers you'd have to eat before they start doing damage to your body?
The answer, according to a review of new dietary research, is just one. Just one high-fat, high-sugar meal can trigger a biochemical cascade, causing inflammation of blood vessels and immediate, detrimental changes to the nervous system, according to the paper, published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. And just one healthy meal helps return your body to its optimal state.
Regardless of its benefits, healthy food can leave you feeling unsatisfied if you're used to eating junk. Junk food distorts a person's hormonal profile.
Studies suggest that fatty, sugary foods promote excretion of the stress hormone cortisol, which seems to further stimulate appetite for calorie-dense foods. And the big post-meal spikes in blood sugar are more likely in people who don't exercise or those who carry weight around their abdomen. All of it makes it tough for people to stop eating junk food once they're in the habit. "The more you eat it the more you crave it. It becomes a vicious cycle.