A single high-fat fast-food meal can cause an increase in blood pressure, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
On two separate occasions, researchers at the University of Calgary fed thirty healthy participants with normal blood pressure either a breakfast from McDonald’s containing 42 grams of fat or a low-fat meal containing only 1 gram of fat. The meals contained equal amounts of sodium. The participants were then exposed to various stressors in the laboratory. After consuming the high-fat meal, the participants’ systolic and diastolic blood pressures, as well as total peripheral resistance, were significantly higher, compared to measurements taken after the low-fat meal.
“Our findings suggest that even a single high-fat meal can result in an exaggerated response to stress,” researcher Dr. Tavis Campbell said. “While it is well-known that long-term intake of fatty foods increases cardiovascular disease risk, this study demonstrates that just one unhealthy meal can have a negative effect on health.”
Jakulj F, Zernicke K, Bacon SL, et al. A high-fat meal increases cardiovascular reactivity to psychological stress in healthy young adults. J Nutr. 2007 Apr;137(4):935-9.