Egg McMugged: 'Breakfast sandwich is a time bomb in a bun'

While atherosclerosis may lead to heart problems, there is no scientific evidence that what you eat has anything to do with it or any associated heart problems.

The media release for the new self-debunking “study” is below.


Breakfast sandwich is a time bomb in a bun

Study finds that just 1 high-fat meal can affect your heart health

Eat a breakfast sandwich and your body will be feeling the ill effects well before lunch – now that’s fast food!

High-fat diets are associated with developing atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) over a lifetime. But how quickly can damage start?

Just one day of eating a fat-laden breakfast sandwich – processed cheese and meat on a bun – and “your blood vessels become unhappy,” says Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher Dr. Todd Anderson, director of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and head of cardiac science at the University of Calgary.

Atherosclerosis can eventually lead to serious problems including heart disease, stroke or even death.

Delegates at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress heard today about a study at Dr. Anderson’s lab, led by student researcher Vincent Lee. The key ingredients: breakfast sandwiches and a group of healthy, non-smoking university students.

Fats can build up in your arteries over decades. One important gauge of how “happy” your arteries feel is how much blood flow can increase in your arm in response to its brief interruption – measured as VTI (velocity time integral). You can measure VTI with doppler ultrasound at rest and then after a blood pressure cuff been inflated.

“VTI tells us how much blood flow you can you get in your arm,” says Dr. Anderson. The higher the better, which means the small vessels can dilate to capacity, and the blood vessel hormones are working well.

So what would happen to the university students after starting their day with a breakfast of fat champions?

The objective of this study was to assess the acute effects of just one high-fat meal on microvascular function, an indicator of overall vascular (blood vessel) health.

The students were studied twice, once on a day they had no breakfast, and once on a day when they consumed two commercially available breakfast sandwiches, total of 900 calories and 50 g of fat. Two hours after eating the sandwiches, their VTI had decreased by 15-20 per cent, reports Dr. Anderson.

From just one isolated meal, the results are temporary. But the study shows that such a high-fat offering can do more harm, and do it more quickly, than people might think.

“I won’t say don’t ever have a breakfast sandwich,” says Dr. Anderson. But enough of a diet like that, and you can see how you can build up fat in the walls of your arteries.

Dr. Anderson is also co-chair of the group that updated the Canadian Lipid Guidelines (on managing and treating high blood cholesterol), presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

“This study reminds us that our behaviours are the backbone of preventing heart disease,” says Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson Dr. Beth Abramson.

“Remember that whether you eat at home or go to a restaurant, you’re still in charge of what you eat. So consider all the choices, and try to cut down on saturated and trans fats, calories and sodium. That’s one of the keys to decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.”


11 thoughts on “Egg McMugged: 'Breakfast sandwich is a time bomb in a bun'”

  1. I believe the reason for this article’s posting on this site is that it an example of poor science. Unrealistic , unmeasured ingestion: 2-3 McMuffins?, unproven clinical endpoint: VTI, use of wrong control: no breakfast, and total conjecture for a conclusion. Who knows what this change in VTI means. It is reminiscent of the global warming science techniques raled against at Junk Science

  2. I second your comment Alex.

    The comparison quoted here is to no breakfast – i.e. nothing in the stomach. What about a nice bowl of something else? How about a cup of coffee or a glass of orange juice? What were the effects of that? I suspect the impact on VTI would be pretty much the same because the effect of any consumption will be to lower blood pressure as blood flow to the stomach is increased away from the peripheral arteries.

    VTI has got very very little to do with fat content of consumed food – this is just junk correlation reporting of the worst kind.

  3. Did the article actually say they ate an Egg McMuffin? I just read breakfast sandwich. If so, there’s no way to know if it came from a organic health cafe or the local gas station mini-mart.

  4. I had the same thoughts:
    – fasting vs. meal;
    about VTI:
    -How do they know it’s fats that effect that;
    -how does the temporary VTI drop post-meal translate to chronic artherosclerosis?

    But I don’t see how an animal is raised and what it was fed would have much effect if we’re talking about an egg mcmuffin — there’s chock full of natural hormones in all eggs and meat and they’re all a pretty generic, commodity product (i.e. pretty high quality and consistency).

  5. You can’t have multiple variables in a test and then blame the results on the one you don’t like. The sandwich obviously had more than one ingredient (bread/ham/egg/cheese/sauce?) and more than one macro-nutrient (CHO/Fat/Protein), plus other nutrients, chemicals, minerals, etc. So how would they know it was the fat that caused the change in the VTI?

    And, what about the ingredients? Was the bread made with vegetable oil, or butter, or coconut oil, HFCS or sugar, hybrid wheat or a heritage grain? Was the ham from a pastured pig/hog or a grain fed one? What about the eggs, how were the hens raised, and what were they fed?

    How do they know they wouldn’t have gotten the same response if the test subjects ate 900 calories of bread alone?

    Modern nutrition science is biased, agenda driven junk science.


  6. The scandal of official diet science is almost as disgusting as the AGW science. What causes heart disease, cancer, diabetes and a host of other modern maladies is not eating fat, but rather carbohydrates. The modern officials’ worse nightmare is that Dr. Atkins was right and they were all wrong. Excessive carbs stimulate excessive insulin which stays in your blood and makes you hungry for more. A high protein, high fat diet with few carbs (especially sugars [high fructose is th’e worst] results in weight loss without hunger and a reduction in all the markers of heart disease. Read Gary Taubes’ “Why we get Fat” and Dr. William Davis’ “Track your Plaque” (website and book). The low fat healthy grains diet is a fraud (it makes you unhealthy) and doesn’t work (98% recidivism). The official dogma on healthy eating is killing us all.

    Junk Science should start a thread on this subject, if they haven’t already.

  7. I haven’t eaten one of those in more than a decade, but I remember clearly that they are not made with a bun. And who eats two breakfast sandwiches the same morning anyway? Finally, checked the McD’s website — one Egg McMuffin is 300 calories and 12 g of fat, so two of them would not be 900 calories and 50 g of fat.

  8. atherosclerosis is for the most part genetic. If you have the genetic predisposition for atherosclerosis then it can be mitigated somewhat by limiting certain things in your diet. This is not the same as your diet causing atherosclerosis.

    I found it interesting that the VTI test was taken either after no breakfast (i.e. after a 12 hour plus fast) or after a breakfast they were trying to indict. Could it be that they knew any large meal would divert blood to your stomach and intestines? Was this then a test of the effects of fats in your blood or a fraud.

  9. My recollection of Egg McMuffins is that they don’t have that much fat compared to lots of other breakfast options.

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