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Good Meal fights Junk Meal

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:38pm

New research shows it takes just one “bad” meal -- greasy Cheesburger, fries and a soda, fried chicken and biscuits, a slab of chocolate cake and ice cream -- to do damage to your body.

The good news, is that eating just one good meal will start to repair the damage. This occurs because, when you eat, your body breaks down the food into glucose (sugar), lipids (fats) and amino acids (the building blocks of protein).

As soon as you eat the last of your high-fat, high-sugar meal, the sugar causes a large spike in your blood-sugar levels called “post-prandial hyperglycemia.” In the long term this can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, but there are short-term effects as well, such as:
*Your tissue becomes inflamed
*Your blood vessels constrict
*Damaging free radicals are generated
*Your blood pressure may rise higher than normal
*A surge and drop in insulin may leave you feeling hungry soon after you eat.

Eating healthy foods, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and high-fiber foods, will stave off post-prandial spikes and help to keep your blood-sugar levels even.

The desire to eat junk food is a vicious cycle, the researchers say, as the more you eat it the more your body craves it. This occurs because junk food distorts your hormonal profile, stimulating your appetite and causing you to crave unhealthy foods -- while making you feel unsatisfied when you eat only healthy ones. The risky blood sugar spikes that follow a junk food meal are most likely to occur in people who don’t exercise, or who carry weight around their abdomen.

Sources:
Time January 15, 2008
Journal of the American College of Cardiology January 22, 2008; 51:249-255
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