That Sandwich (or Meal) is Bad….It Can Hurt Your Arteries

HealthGal Health Guide
  • First answer a few questions:

    (1) If you generally eat a healthy diet, is it really bad to eat a high fat, high sodium, high calorie morning breakfast sandwich?

    (2) Is it better to skip breakfast or go ahead and eat a high fat, high sodium, high calorie morning breakfast sandwich?


    In scenario number one, you acknowledge that you have a good understanding of healthy eating principles.  And you mostly consume fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, low fat dairy products, lean proteins, fish, beans and legumes and you cook with mostly healthy oils.  On this fateful morning, you sleep through your alarm and you make a dash to jump out of bed, throw on clothes, grab your car keys and while madly driving to work, stop for a large, tasty, cheesy morning sandwich from the local drive thru.  You take note of the fact that it clocks in just under 400 calories….barely.  This rarely happens, and you are starving and you want to fuel yourself for a challenging morning at work.  So all is good, right?  Well, not really.  That single sandwich loaded with calories, fat and sodium will have a huge impact on your blood vessel velocity – and not in a good way.  That term describes blood vessel function, and it drops significantly after a meal like the one I just described.  Your blood vessels become compromised, according to a recent Canadian study, and they won’t dilate to their full capacity after a meal like that.  What’s the significance?  It means that over time, and with a few more meals like that, your risk for heart attack, stroke and heart disease in general escalates.  Even mostly good eating habits may not mitigate that single meal’s impact on your arteries.  And how many of us who would indulge in that singular and out-of-the-ordinary unhealthy breakfast, really eat a pristine and superbly healthy diet most of the time?  I can honestly say, I do, and I can also honestly say that even in a jam, I wouldn’t have chosen the sandwich, but rather a healthy smoothie, a fat free latte and protein bar or a healthier yogurt parfait, on the run.  In a desperate moment an apple and some nuts would satisfy as a small breakfast.

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    Scenario two asks if it’s better to skip your morning meal, or choose a” high fat, high sodium, high calorie” breakfast sandwich.  These days I think there are lots of healthier choices that can be had, even on a rushed morning.  So it really boils down to – you wanting that particular choice.  Not really a healthy way to start your day and frankly, there’s no need to make it an “all or nothing choice.”  You can have emergency grab and go choices in your frig.  Here are some ideas:


    • A peanut butter and berry whole grain wrap sandwich filled with protein, whole grains, antioxidants and fiber
    • A yogurt parfait with layers of low fat Greek-style yogurt, fruit, high fiber cereal and a sprinkle of nuts offers healthy protein from two sources, calcium, fiber, omega 3 fats and fiber.
    • A whole grain sandwich (extra thin sliced bread) of turkey bacon, sliced hard-boiled eggs, and roasted vegetables, which offers protein, whole grains, fiber and anti-oxidants.
    • A blended smoothie made with a splash of 100% fruit, frozen bananas and berries, yogurt and ice, which offers protein, calcium, fiber and antioxidants.

    Three of these four choices can be prepared ahead of time, wrapped and ready to go.  A smoothie will take less time than your wait at the drive through.  So why eat a sandwich that can do the body harm, when you can have your choice of a breakfast that can do the body good??


Published On: November 13, 2012