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No Immediate Vascular Gains Found in 'Healthy' Fast Food

Conventional burger meal and vegetarian alternative produce similar effects

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The acute cardiovascular effects of "healthy" fast-food meals and conventional fast-food meals are essentially the same, according to study findings published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Tanja K. Rudolph, M.D., of the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany, and colleagues tested 24 healthy volunteers (aged 18 to 65) before and after they had eaten three different fast-food meals, one per week for three weeks. The first meal consisted of a conventional beef hamburger with French fries, ketchup and carbonated soda; the second substituted a vegetarian burger for the beef burger; the third consisted of a vegetarian burger with salad, fruit, yogurt and orange juice.

No significant differences were observed between the three meals in postprandial flow-mediated endothelium-dependent dilatation. A small but significant increase in the diameter of the brachial artery was observed in all three cases, but there was no significant difference in the degree of increase between the three meals. Serum triacylglycerol, plasma insulin, and plasma glucose levels increased after each meal while high-density lipoprotein levels declined, but in all cases no significant differences were noted between the three meals. Urinary excretion of 8-iso-platelet derived growth factor-2 also did not differ significantly between the three meals.

The authors note that their results were against common expectations. "The frequently reported postprandial decline in flow-mediated endothelium-dependent dilatation may be attributed at least in part to an increase in the baseline [arterial] diameter," they conclude.

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