Toronto: Eating just one high-fat meal can hurt the heart by raising blood pressure, says a study.” It is already known that a high-fat diet contributes to a number of serious conditions. They include atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and high blood pressure. The new study suggests that even a single, high-fat meal can make you more reactive to stress, which scientists say, could affect cardiovascular functions. Tavis Campbell, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, and other researchers studied 30 healthy adults.

The participants fasted the night before and then ate either a high-fat breakfast from McDonald’s consisting of a sausage McMuffin, an egg McMuffin, and two hash brown patties or a low-fat breakfast of dry cereal with skim milk, a cereal fruit bar, fat-free yoghurt and a glass of orange juice. Both meals contained about 800 calories, but the high-fat meal had 42 grams of fat, and the low-fat meal had one gram of fat.

A sodium supplement was added to the low-fat meal to even out the difference between the two meals. Two hours later, the participants completed several stress-inducing tasks while researchers measured their cardiovascular response, including blood pressure, heart rate, and resistance within blood vessels, reported the online edition of health magazine WebMD. The results showed that regardless of the task, the blood pressure response was greater among those who ate the high-fat meal than those who ate the low-fat one. Researchers say it’s unclear how a single high-fat meal can sensitise the body to stress, but the results suggest a new way in which high-fat diets may contribute to heart disease.