One Junk-Food Meal May Trigger Metabolic Disease Signals

The season of overindulgence is upon us as Thanksgiving is a mere two weeks away. For many Americans, Thanksgiving, or any holiday, may be a moniker for overeating. However, you may want to skip some of the junk food passed around the table this feasting season. Recent research suggests that one junk-food meal may trigger metabolic disease signals in your body.

A study, published this November in The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (The FASEB Journal), found that a short period of overindulgence may trigger the beginnings of metabolic disease. Suzan Wopereis, Ph.D., one of the study researchers from Microbiology and Systems Biology Group and the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), said in news reports, “Acute effects of diet are mostly small, but may have large consequences in the long run.”  

The study examined two groups of male participants. The first group consisted of 10 healthy males, and the second group consisted of nine males already diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Both participant groups consumed a high-fat milkshake. The biomarkers in the metabolic syndrome group were abnormal, and the healthy male group showed biomarkers consistent with the start of metabolic disease.

“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,” Gerald Weissmann, M.D., the editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal warned in news reports.

Obese patientPeople diagnosed with metabolic syndrome have high blood pressure, high fasting glucose levels, and abdominal obesity, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA states that metabolic syndrome is a very serious health concern and may increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and stroke. It certainly is serious, and obesity is one of the main risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

Approximately one-third of American adults, 78.6 million people, are considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other risk factors for developing metabolic syndrome are a lack of physical activity and a diet high in carbohydrates (over 60 percent of daily caloric intake), according to the AHA. 

The good news is, it’s never too late to get back to a healthier and happier you. A study, published in Preventing Chronic Disease (2010), involved 41 obese or overweight individuals from a church congregation. The participants were asked to undertake diet and exercise changes, including calorie reduction, increased fiber intake, an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as 30 minutes of daily exercise. The researchers concluded, “The intervention decreased weight, body fat, and central adiposity; improved indexes of metabolic syndrome; and increased self-reported wellness.”

Your health reflects your choices. How do you stay motivated to make the right ones?

—Stephen Seifert

Stephen Seifert is a writer, professor, adventurer and a health & fitness guru. His flair for travel and outdoor adventure allows him to enjoy culture and traditions different than his own. A healthy diet, routine fitness and constant mental development is the cornerstone to Stephen’s life.



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