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D.iet & H.ealth : H.eart & B.lood Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00

One high-saturated fat meal can be bad enough
By Ben Wasserman
Aug 7, 2006, 23:45

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Aug 7 ( - A meal with high saturated fat can be effective enough in preventing good cholesterol from protecting against clogged arteries, according to a new study published in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"What we put into our mouth makes a big difference in terms of our health," Dr. Charles McCauley, a cardiologist with Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin who was not involved in the study was quoted by Reuters as saying.

In the study, researchers at The Heart Research Institute in Sydney, Australia asked 14 people aged 18-40 to eat two meals of carrot cake and a milkshake one month apart. One meal is high in saturated fat from coconut oil and the other high in polyunsaturated fat from safflower oil.

Researchers found that as shortly as three hours after eating the saturated fat cake and shake, the lining of the arteries simply couldn’t expand to increase blood flow. After six hours, researchers observed a reduction in the anti-inflammatory qualities of the good cholesterol.

But a meal high in polyunsaturated fat seemed to improve the anti-inflammatory quantities.

Saturated fat is commonly found in food derived from animals and some plants including coconut, palm oil and cocoa butter. Polyunsaturated fats are found in plant oils such as sunflower oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, and safflower oil and many nuts and seeds.

A scientist who wishes not to be named reminds people that while too much of saturated fat in food is bad for cardiovascular health, trans fat can do even more harm than saturated fat.

In addition, not all polyunsaturated fats play a healthy role. Some polyunsaturated fat in corn oil can even promote cancer. The polyunsaturated fat treated at high temperature for a long time can also be detrimental.

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