Can One Junk Food Snack Trigger Metabolic Disease?

One high-calorie snack or meal could be enough to trigger metabolic disease - or make it worse in people who already have it, according to a new report.

Published in The FASEB Journal, the study found that small overindulgences exacerbated the abnormal mechanisms related to sugar and fat metabolism that exist in people with metabolic syndrome.

"Acute effects of diet are mostly small, but may have large consequences in the long run," said Dr. Suzan Wopereis, lead researcher.

'We need to use our brains'

The study included two groups of male volunteers: one group of healthy controls and a second with metabolic syndrome and at least two or more risk factors for heart disease.

Researchers took blood samples from the men after they had consumed a high-calorie milkshake, measuring specific biomarkers like cholesterol and blood sugar.

Men with metabolic syndrome had worsening symptoms after consuming the shake, including inflammation and disturbed fat metabolism.

The healthy volunteers - who were given an additional 1300 calories per day from sweets or junk food - also showed subtle signs indicating the beginning of metabolic disease.

"Eating junk food is one of those situations where our brains say 'yes' and our bodies say 'no,'" said Dr. Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Unfortunately for us, this report shows that we need to use our brains and listen to our bodies. Even one unhealthy snack has negative consequences that extend far beyond any pleasure it brings."

Source: FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SOCIETIES FOR EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY

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