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‘Junk Food’ May Increase the Risk of Stroke, Study Finds

Oct 7th, 2012

'Junk Food' May Increase the Risk of StrokeEating too much junk food may increase the risk for stroke and premature death, according to a new research.

According to researchers in Canada, this type of food, which is high in fat, salt, and sugar, is a “health time bomb.”

The study will be presented next week at the Canadian Stroke Congress in Calgary.

For the study, researchers gave lab rats a choice between nutritional food pellets and junk food items like biscuits, cupcakes, and sausages. The animals were also given access to water and a 30 percent sugar solution designed to imitate soft drinks.

Researchers found out that rats preferred junk food and the sugary drink to nutritional pellets and water. After a two month exposure to the high fat, high salt, and high sugar diet, the animals developed symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors which include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and obesity, increases the risk for stroke, coronary artery disease, and type 2 diabetes.

The rats showed symptoms of metabolic syndrome even though they were only the equivalent of about 16 to 22 years old in human years, the researchers said.

“I think we’ll soon start to see people in their 30s or 40s having strokes, having dementia, because of this junk food diet,” according to lead researcher Dale Corbett of the Center for Stroke Recovery at Canada’s Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Young people will have major, major problems much earlier in life.”

Study authors emphasized the importance of regular and exercise and a healthy diet to prevent metabolic syndrome.

“We’re not sure whether metabolic syndrome can be reversed,” Dr. Corbett said. “If it can’t, and we continue to live and eat like this, then we’re each a ticking time bomb of health problems.”

Study authors said that more research is needed to determine the effects of poor diet on animals with health issues.

“Laboratory models often use relatively young animals who are healthier and on better diets than we are,” Dr. Corbett said. “However, it is important to remember that for many people, the consequences would be even worse, since a lot of people with stroke also have pre-existing health problems.”

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