Sudden Cardiac Arrest: Even Corn Flakes Can Be Killers

This bowl of corn flakes looks innocent enough.  I remember when corn flakes and milk was considered one of the healthiest meals you could eat.  But in a groundbreaking study just released by Tel Aviv University, researchers actually observed the damage a diet of corn flakes, or other high carbohydrate foods, does to the heart.

Of course, it's been known for some time that foods with high glycemic values cause blood sugar to rise, causing a higher risk for sudden cardiac death.  But this Tel Aviv University study is the first to have actually tracked the effects of high glycemic foods on the heart over a period of time. What they saw is disturbing....

Brachial artery in red ( artery in red ( Over a period of four weeks, head researcher, Dr. Michael Shechter of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine and the Heart Institute of Sheba Medical Center, and his team used brachial reactive testing  to visualize arterial function in real time.  The participants, 56 healthy volunteers, ingested one of four foods every day: cornflakes and milk, a pure sugar mixture, bran flakes, and water.  

Before the participants ingested their "foods," their arterial functions were virtually the same.  But afterwards, the only group whose arteries were not dramatically stressed was the group that drank water.  The two groups with "enormous" arterial stress had eaten corn flakes or the sugar mixture.

"We knew high glycemic foods were bad for the heart. Now we have a mechanism that shows how," siad Dr. Shechter. "Foods like cornflakes, white bread, french fries, and sweetened soda all put undue stress on our arteries. We've explained for the first time how high glycemic carbs can affect the progression of heart disease. During the consumption of foods high in sugar, there appears to be a temporary and sudden dysfunction in the endothelial walls of the arteries."

Coincidentally, according to today's news, among other arterial stresses in Michael Jackson's life, he was a junk food binger.  Mend your ways. Here's a great resource on low-glycemic foods: The Glycemic Index.  Make up a diet of them.

The most devastating effect of a diet rich in high carb foods like corn flakes, white bread, french fries and junk food is that over time the artery walls loose their elasticity -- one of many endothelial cell functions -- putting people at very high risk for sudden cardiac arrest, which almost always leads to instant death.

Dr. Shechter said brachial reactive testing is available at the Tel Aviv University hospital and that many American tourists come into the hospital to check their brachial response. More than a year ago, I wrote a story about the Endotect™, another Israeli-invented device that checks for endothelial response.  It is much like a blood pressure cuff and can detect your risk for sudden cardiac arrest without intervention and within 15 minutes.  Though this device has been in routine use in Israel and other countries for more than a year by general medical practitioners, the FDA has still not approved it, although approval was expected in 2008.  And so, the test is not available at primary care providers in the U.S.  Too bad... again.

sources: Science Today,, Herald Sun, Glycemic Index, Cardiotec


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