According to a new research conducted by the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, just one high-fat meal can lead to a cardiovascular disease.
The study suggests that even a single high-fat milkshake has the ability to destroy the red blood cells in our body and transform them into spiky cells that paves a way for heart disease.
10 men were recruited for the study and they were asked to consume a milkshake made with whole milk mixed with ice cream and whip cream. The healthy young men had blood vessels, which were not relaxed and had an immune response similar to an infection.
The team said that the unhealthy shift was temporary in these individuals and their study could explicate the isolated reports of death and heart attack after eating a high-fat meal.
“We see this hopefully as a public service to get people to think twice about eating this way,” said researcher Neal L. Weintraub, the corresponding author of the study.
“The take-home message is that your body can usually handle this if you don’t do it again at the next meal and the next and the next,” added Julia E. Brittain, another correspondent author of the study.
The healthy individuals recruited for the study consumed a meal with the same number of calories but no fat, after drinking the shake they did not experience any dangerous changes to their red blood cells, blood and blood vessels.
Dr Ryan A. Harris, speaking on the subject of rapid changes to the form and function of red blood cells said, “They changed size, they changed shape, they got smaller.”
The researchers found myeloperoxidase in both the cells and blood. Myeloperoxidase is an enzyme expressed by a type of white blood cell, at high levels in the blood, which has been linked with stiff blood vessels, stress and heart attack in humans.
They used cytometry to examine the red blood cells and found that the reactive oxygen species – a natural byproduct of oxygen use, which is destructive at high levels, has increased. These increased levels permanently change the function of proteins, along with the red blood cells that maintain their normal negative charge.
The study was published in the journal Laboratory Investigation.