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By Stephenie Karony

Wednesday, January 19, 2000

Even one high-fat
meal effects heart

QUESTION: Other than the possible weight gain, is there anything unhealthy about splurging on a high-fat, high-calorie meal?

ANSWER: We all know that eating big, high-fat meals over time is unhealthy. High-fat diets cause obesity and contribute to disease.

That said, let's look at what effects an individual high-fat splurge has on the body. With medical advances in investigative procedures, there is more and more evidence showing that even one high-fat meal can have adverse effects on the heart, immediately.

Why? Because the fat from one meal stays in the bloodstream, in the form of triglycerides, for up to eight hours after the meal, and sometimes as much as 12 hours. That wouldn't in itself be so bad if it weren't for something called Factor VII. Factor VII promotes clotting, thus increasing the likelihood of a blood clot in the heart. A high-fat meal boosts Factor VII.

Now, if you're a heart healthy individual you would have to consume about 90 grams of fat, or 810 fat calories, all at once, to increase Factor VII activity. But what about those who have some risk factors for heart disease? It's been shown that in those people, Factor VII may be activated with a lower fat intake. And as if that weren't enough, a high-fat meal may reduce the ability of the blood vessels to dilate.

In conclusion, even one high-fat meal and the subsequent rise in triglycerides can be dangerous if you're overweight or have other risk factors for heart disease. And believe it or not, there are millions of people roaming the streets who have arterial blockage and don't even know it. Most first heart attacks are complete surprises.

Did you know that Omega-3 fats, found in fish, reduce blood levels of triglycerides? So if you must pig out, be sure to include a healthy portion of fish in your fare.

Q. What's your opinion of this new anti-aging supplement called colostrum?

A. The label on New Life Colostrum claims it's the "ultimate anti-aging, weight-loss, and immune supplement." The manufacturers say colostrum increases resistance to disease, facilitates fat burning, builds muscle, balances blood sugar and enhances mood. Sounds like snake oil to me.

So what is colostrum? It's a substance produced by all lactating mammals, including humans, in the first 24 to 48 hours after giving birth, just before breast milk appears.

The colostrum used in these new supplements is derived from cows.

Bovine colostrum contains immune factors that protect calves from infection, and it contains growth hormones that promote bovine cell development. Using bovine colostrum, say proponents, supplies you with these substances, thereby strengthening your body and slowing the aging process. Maybe so, if you're a calf! (And speaking of calves, what about those babies -- are they losing out when their mom's colostrum is harvested for human supplements?)

Human colostrum is certainly important to human newborns, but no adult of any animal species consumes colostrum in nature. More importantly, there have been virtually no studies -- not in peer-reviewed journals anyway -- supporting the use of colostrum in humans over the age of 48 hours.

My advice: Save your money. For a truly effective anti-aging, weight-loss and immune system "supplement," try physical exercise.

Health Events

Stephenie Karony is a certified health
and fitness instructor, a personal trainer and the author of
"Body Shaping with Free Weights." Send questions to her at
P.O. Box 262, Wailuku Hi. Her column appears on Wednesdays.

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