Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Corn Flakes: A Great Breakfast? Think Again!

If you still think corn flakes are a great, wholesome breakfast, read on.

A landmark research study by Dr. Michael Shechter of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and the Heart Institute of Sheba Medical Center, with collaboration of the Endocrinology Institute, shows exactly how high carbohydrate foods increase the risk for heart problems.

Researchers looked at four groups of volunteers who were given different breakfasts:

  • cornflake mush mixed with milk - not unlike the typical American breakfast
  • a pure sugar mixture
  • bran flakes
  • a placebo (water).

Over four weeks, Dr. Shechter applied a test that allows researchers to visualize how the arteries are functioning. It's called "brachial reactive testing" and it uses a cuff on the arm, like those used to measure blood pressure, which can visualize arterial function in real time.

The results were dramatic. Before any of the patients ate, arterial function was essentially the same. After eating, except for the placebo group (who drank water), all had reduced functioning. Enormous peaks indicating arterial stress were found in the high glycemic index groups: the cornflakes and sugar group

"We knew high glycemic foods were bad for the heart. Now we have a mechanism that shows how," says Dr. Shechter. "Foods like cornflakes, white bread, French fries, and sweetened soda all put undue stress on our arteries. We've explained for the first time how high glycemic carbs can affect the progression of heart disease."

During the consumption of foods high in sugar, there appears to be a temporary and sudden dysfunction in the endothelial walls of the arteries.

Endothelial health can be traced back to almost every disorder and disease in the body. It is "the riskiest of the risk factors," says Dr. Shechter.

Dr. Shechter recommends sticking to foods like oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts, which have a low glycemic index. Exercising every day for at least 30 minutes, he adds, is an extra heart-smart action to take.

Source: Dr Jonny Bowden

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