Saturday, November 27

If you eat a lot McDonald’s: you will increase the risk of hypertension and heart disease

Some of the most iconic items on the McDonald’s menu can contain more than 2,000 mg of sodium. Which completely exceeds the parameters considered healthy per day.

Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS / AFP / Getty Images

When thinking of fast food, it is highly unlikely that the concept of “healthy” comes to mind. The truth is that despite warnings about the devastating effects of a high consumption of fast food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): 1 in 3 American adults eat fast food more than any given day of the week. The reality is that many people turn to these foods because of how accessible and available they are, in fact for many McDonald’s (or a similar establishment) it is the closest place to their home where they can go to eat something hot. However, basing the diet on these types of foods is associated with serious long-term health consequences, among which have attracted the most attention is a increased risk of hypertension and heart disease The reason? The excessive use of salt.

While it is a fact that a person’s blood pressure naturally tends to drop slightly after eating, certain foods can cause blood pressure to rise, and in some people, this elevation exceeds the normal range. The medical name for high blood pressure is hypertension. Hypertension can lead to health problems such as heart disease, heart attacks and strokes. That is why one of the main control measures for hypertensive people is to make changes in lifestyle and diet, one of the main ones focuses directly on the consumption of salt and saturated fat.

The USDA estimated that 23.5 million Americans lived in a “food desert,” describing certain low-income areas that are more than a mile from a supermarket or large grocery store. For rural areas, the limit is 10 miles. In addition, to this we must add that not having a vehicle, in general, can further complicate access to nutritious and affordable food. This is where fast food chains become a recurring resource.

Although, it is true that fast food menus offer very diverse alternatives and have dishes that are a good source of protein. Long-term eating of these types of foods is unhealthy, and there are many reasons worth considering. In principle it is about fried foods, which makes them caloric and rich in saturated fat. Also, in many cases the quality of the meat products they use is not the best, and they are usually accompanied by sauces and condiments that can be very rich in sugar and add additional calories.

However, the factor that most influences cardiovascular health, without a doubt, is its high sodium content. In fact, the offers at McDonald’s and the most famous fast food chains, they are rarely high in sodium. According to the American Heart Association, routinely consuming too much sodium, or more than the suggested 2,300 milligrams per day, can jeopardize your long-term heart health.

It is well known that salt is an easy and inexpensive way to add flavor to meals, especially its emblematic French fries. In addition to being a great food preservative and helps them stay fresh for longer, a great benefit for these types of chains. The problem is that these types of restaurant chains use salt quite excessively.

McDonald’s menu items with the most sodium:

– Big breakfast con hotcakes: This breakfast option provides 2,150 mg of sodium. That’s far more than the 1500 mg recommended for a heart-healthy diet.

–  Bacon & Cheese Sirloin Third Pound Burger: This treat might not be the best option in McDonald’s wide repertoire, alone it contains 2060 mg of sodium.

– Premium Southwest Salad with Crispy Chicken: Without dressing it contains 910 mg of sodium, after adding a packet of Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing add 530 mg more.

– 20 Piece Chicken McNuggets: Believe it or not, the iconic Mcnuggets are not without a good dose of salt, they contain 1,680 mg is the equivalent of 70% of the recommended daily amount of sodium for the average adult

– Simple burger with cheese and bacon: This classic of classics provides 1,580 mg of sodium, it is 66% of the recommended daily amount of sodium for the average adult

– Double Quarter Pound with Cheese: One of the most requested hamburgers at McDonald’s is the Quarter Pounder, which contains 1,300 mg which is 54% of the recommended daily amount of sodium for the average adult.

How does food affect blood pressure?

When a person eats, their body redirects blood to the digestive tract to help with digestion. This causes a temporary drop in blood pressure in other parts of the body. To compensate, the blood vessels outside the digestive tract constrict, causing the heart to beat faster and harder. This helps maintain healthy blood pressure throughout the body.

This is why some people experience a persistent drop in blood pressure after eating. This happens when the blood vessels outside the digestive system do not constrict. Doctors refer to this condition as postprandial hypotension or low blood pressure after eating and it is a fact that people with high blood pressure are more likely to experience it.

Fasting for long periods can also cause a drop in blood pressure. Also, it can increase a person’s risk of developing electrolyte imbalances and nutrient deficiencies. However, medical experts have found that the main cause of the widespread increase in blood pressure is diet. Foods that are high in salt can cause a temporary spike, while foods with saturated fat pose a long-term risk.

The main dietary recommendation for people with prehypertension or hypertension is to limit the intake of foods that could further increase blood pressure: foods that contain salt or saturated fat. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that study subjects who ate a fast food with high in fat and sodium saw their blood pressure skyrocket 1.25 to 1.5 times higher, compared to that of a group that consumed home-cooked meals.

Most of the Processed foods and prepared meals contain high amounts of salt or sodium. Sodium causes the body to retain excess fluid and this leads to an increase in blood pressure. Therefore it is essential to avoid the consumption of fast, processed foods, soups, vegetables and canned meats, French fries, marinades and sauces.

Following a diet rich in saturated fat also increases the risk of hypertension. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), saturated fats increase the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol in the blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol lead to the accumulation of fatty deposits called plaques in the arteries, this makes the arteries narrow and leaves less room for blood to flow. The heart compensates for this by pumping blood harder, resulting in a Increased blood pressure. It is important to watch the consumption of foods that are high in saturated fat: fatty red meat, poultry with skin, lard, fried food, cheese and other dairy products and tropical oils, such as coconut, palm kernel and palm oil.

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