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Vol. 51, No. 2, 2007
Issue release date: June 2007
Ann Nutr Metab 2007;51:163–171

Hormonal Responses to a Fast-Food Meal Compared with Nutritionally Comparable Meals of Different Composition

Bray G.A. · Most M. · Rood J. · Redmann S. · Smith S.R.
Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, La., USA

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Background: Fast food is consumed in large quantities each day. Whether there are differences in the acute metabolic response to these meals as compared to ‘healthy’ meals with similar composition is unknown. Design: Three-way crossover. Methods: Six overweight men were given a standard breakfast at 8:00 a.m. on each of 3 occasions, followed by 1 of 3 lunches at noon. The 3 lunches included: (1) a fast-food meal consisting of a burger, French fries and root beer sweetened with high fructose corn syrup; (2) an organic beef meal prepared with organic foods and a root beer containing sucrose, and (3) a turkey meal consisting of a turkey sandwich and granola made with organic foods and an organic orange juice. Glucose, insulin, free fatty acids, ghrelin, leptin, triglycerides, LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol were measured at 30-min intervals over 6 h. Salivary cortisol was measured after lunch. Results: Total fat, protein and energy content were similar in the 3 meals, but the fatty acid content differed. The fast-food meal had more myristic (C14:0), palmitic (C16:0), stearic (C18:0) and trans fatty acids (C18:1) than the other 2 meals. The pattern of nutrient and hormonal response was similar for a given subject to each of the 3 meals. The only statistically significant acute difference observed was a decrease in the AUC of LDL cholesterol after the organic beef meal relative to that for the other two meals. Other metabolic responses were not different. Conclusion: LDL-cholesterol decreased more with the organic beef meal which had lesser amounts of saturated and trans fatty acids than in the fast-food beef meal.

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