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Eating Fast Food May Increase Bad Cholesterol Levels

It’s well known that “fast” food is less healthy, and a recent study suggests that regularly eating fast food may contribute to higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol.


Participants in the study included 1,948 British school children, ages 9 and 10. The researchers used a 24-hour dietary recall method and photos of food to ask the children how often they ate fast food and about their regular diets. The researchers calculated macronutrient intake, saturated fat, sugar, and vitamin and minerals levels. They also measured blood lipids, blood pressure, height, weight, waist circumference, body fat mass, and skinfold thickness.


A higher intake of fast food meals was associated with higher dietary intakes of calories, fat percentage of calories, saturated fat percentage of calories, higher calorie density, and lower starch, protein, and micronutrient intakes. Higher frequency of fast food consumption was also associated with higher serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein. Children who ate fast food even once per week had higher total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and body mass index, when compared with those who did not eat fast food once per week.


Researchers from St George’s, University of London, conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 3, 2017, in BMJ Journals.


The majority of fast foods are loaded with carbohydrates and very little fiber. The carbohydrates are released as sugar into the bloodstream, which leads to an increase in blood sugar. Frequent consumption of fast food increases the risk of weight gain, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. In addition, excess calories from fast food can cause weight gain, and eventually lead to obesity. Obesity increases the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

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