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Why breakfast sandwiches are more of an artery clogging nightmare than you think

New research suggests breakfast sandwiches reduce blood flow within hours of eating. (Thinkstock)Some refer to them as "gut bombs", others as just plain "delicious", but regardless of what you call them or how many you choose to ingest, a new study has found that commercially available breakfast sandwiches can impede blood flow within hours of being eaten.

While it's been well-known for years that eating foods high in fat and salt will have negative health effects, this experiment, conducted by a group of researchers at the University of Calgary, reveals that two breakfast sandwiches will impede blood flow by 15 to 20 percent within hours of consuming them, reports the Toronto Star.

Also see: Exercising before breakfast causes greater fat loss: study

"Often we don't think of the consequences of our choices, especially when we cannot see them," says Ottawa area consulting dietician Cindy Sass. "Or we may think, how much is this one choice really going to harm me?"

"Well, this study demonstrates that there is an immediate, negative effect to our heart health when we make the choice to skip the healthy oatmeal and berry breakfast and go for the greasy and salty breakfast sandwich."

The research was presented at the 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress Tuesday in Toronto, but has not yet been published.

It involved examining the cardiovascular function of a group of students, once on a morning when they ate no breakfast, and once on a morning when they had consumed two commercially available breakfast sandwiches containing a total of 900 calories and 50 grams of fat.

They wanted to see the effects of a single high-fat meal on microvascular function, and the results revealed reduced blood flow due to ingestion of the sandwiches. The study also noted that the effects were only temporary.

One of the researchers, Dr. Todd Anderson, says he is unsure exactly why this was happening — one possibility is that an excess of oxygen free radicals from the sandwich could affect blood vessels.

Also see: Can just 2.5 minutes of exercise a day keep you slim? A new study thinks so

So what is a busy breakfast sandwich-loving person to do? Never eat a greasy sausage and egg McMuffin again?

"Many fast food establishments are offering healthier options, getting back to the oatmeal  — many have this on their breakfast menus," says Sass.

She also admits that it is ultimately harder to make healthy choices when eating out because the food industry wants us to spend money in their establishments, which can be laden with greasy, salty foods

That being said, Sass still thinks this study could act as a bit of a wake-up call.

"If people see this article and learn what eating a sandwich like that can do health-wise, they would have to be pretty self-deprecating to make that choice again."

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