DALLAS, April 10 -- A new study gives one more reason why you may be better off beginning the morning with a breakfast of low-fat yogurt, cereal or juice instead of toast slathered with margarine or a croissant.
A study of 91 elderly women reported in this month's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association finds that a fatty breakfast can cause elevations in a blood-clotting factor, called factor VIIa, that has been associated with heart attack.
Louise Mennen, M.D., and researchers at the division of human nutrition and epidemiology, Agricultural University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, conducted the study to identify dietary fats that might raise the risk of heart disease. "Factor VIIa increases after intake of dietary fat," says Mennen, the study's lead author.
The study found that saturated as well as unsaturated fats increased levels of factor VIIa.
"The rise in factor VIIa after a meal should be kept as low as possible, and this is best achieved by reducing the total amount of fat rather than by changing fat composition," says Mennen, who is now a researcher at INSERN, in France.
Factor VIIa circulates in the bloodstream, and elevated levels can "lead to an explosive" formation of the enzyme thrombin. Thrombin is a catalyst in the formation of fibrin, one of the essential components of a blood clot. Too much clotting can lead to blockages in the blood vessels, setting the stage for a heart attack or stroke.
In the study, four different fat-rich breakfast diets, each of which
contained 50 percent of calories from fat, were tested. The diets differed in
fatty acid composition. One had palmitic acid (a highly saturated fat found in
animals); one had stearic acid (found in beef and cocoa butter) and the other
two contained different ratios of linoleic and lin
Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association