Researchers visualized exactly what happens inside the body when the wrong foods for a healthy heart are eaten. They found that foods with a high glycemic index distended brachial arteries for several hours. It is a first in medical history. The results were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Elasticity of arteries anywhere in the body can be a measure of heart health. But when aggravated over time, a sudden expansion of the artery wall can cause a number of negative health effects, including reduced elasticity, which can cause heart disease or sudden death.
Like the uncomfortable medical warnings on packets of cigarettes, this new research could lead to a whole new way to show patients the effects of a poor diet on our body.
The researchers looked at four healthy groups. One group ate a cornflake mush mixed with milk, a second a pure sugar mixture, the third bran flakes, while the last group was given a placebo (water). Over four weeks, "brachial reactive testing" was performed on each group. The test 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, all had reduced functioning.
Enormous peaks indicating arterial stress were found in the high glycemic index groups: the cornflakes and sugar group. During the consumption of foods high in sugar, there appears to be a temporary and sudden dysfunction in the endothelial walls of the arteries.
Bonnie - compelling stuff! I think this will be a great tool for physicians and cardiologists to use if they truly want their patients to practice prevention.