Posted on Oct 24, 2012, 6 a.m.
The fat- and sugar-rich Western diet leads to a lifetime of health problems, dramatically increasing the risk of stroke or death at a younger age.
A diet consisting of high levels of saturated fat has been linked to a dramatic rise in obesity, type II diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Dale Corbett, from the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery (Canada), and colleagues, engaged a lab animal model to study the effect of such conditions on stroke outcome. A high-calorie, high-sugar, high-sodium diet nicknamed the 'cafeteria diet' induced most symptoms of metabolic syndrome – a combination of high levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and obesity – in rats after only two months. Researchers gave sedentary rats unlimited access to nutritional food pellets as well as daily selection of common junk food items including cookies, sausage and cupcakes. Animals were also given access to both water and a 30% sucrose solution designed to imitate soft drinks. Like humans, the animals greatly preferred to consume the treats. The study authors urge that: “The results of this study demonstrate that long-term exposure to WD diets are detrimental to ischemic outcome. Consequently, it is important to incorporate disease co-morbidities and/or risk factors in pre-clinical evaluation of neuroprotective or restorative interventions if therapies are to be translated into the clinic.”
Langdon KD, Clarke J, Corbett D. “Long-term exposure to high fat diet is bad for your brain: exacerbation of focal ischemic brain injury.” Neuroscience. 2011 May 19;182:82-7. Presented at Canadian Stroke Congress, 1 October 2012.