High Fat Breakfasts Linked
to Heart Attacks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Even a simple breakfast of toast and margarine may be too fatty for the body to handle and it could be there are no ``good'' fats in a high-fat diet, Dutch researchers said Tuesday.
A single high-fat meal can cause elevations in a blood-clotting factor known as Factor VIIa, which has been associated with heart attacks, they wrote in a report in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Louise Mennen and colleagues at the Agricultural University in Wageningen, Netherlands, said it did not matter what kinds of fats people ate -- all fat was bad.
``The results of our trial support the view that the factor VIIa response to a high dietary fat intake is independent of the type of fat,'' Mennen said in a statement.
The researchers studied 91 elderly women to identify dietary fats that might raise the risk of heart disease. The women ate four breakfasts, each with 50 percent of calories from fat but containing different fatty acids. The meals included a bun, margarine, jam, cake and orange juice. One breakfast contained palmitic acid, a highly saturated animal fat, one had stearic acid, found in beef and cocoa butter, and the other two had differing levels of linoleic and linolenic acid, found in corn, canola and other vegetable oils. The control breakfast used for comparison was low-fat and included a low-fat bun and yogurt.
Levels of factor VIIa rose significantly in those who ate the high-fat breakfasts. In contrast, levels decreased in those who ate the control diet. ``There were no differences among the fat-rich diets,'' Mennen said.
It was not yet clear if factor VIIa was a direct cause of heart attacks, she said. ``This study adds another reason to try to adhere to the current recommendations of a low-fat diet,'' Alice Lichtenstein of Tufts University's Human Nutrition Research Center said in a telephone interview. The American Heart Association recommends that the average person should limit total fat intake to no more than 30 percent of total calories.
Some studies have indicated that monounsaturated fats such as olive oil are better for the heart than animal fats or most vegetable fats. Mennen's team did not test olive oil in their study. ^REUTERS@

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