Short-term, high-fat diet may cut heart attack damage

Last Updated: Apr 14, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: Short-term, high-fat "splurges" within one``s diet could reduce the amount of damage done when a heart attack occurs, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) found that such a diet could elicit cardioprotective properties during a heart attack.

Lauren Haar, a doctoral student in the Systems Biology and Physiology Graduate Program, found that short-term, high-fat feeding in animal models led to cardioprotection against myocardial infarction (MI, or heart attack) and resulted in less cardiac tissue damage.

For the study, researchers fed one group of mice a high-fat diet (60 percent of the calories coming from saturated fat) for two weeks or less. A second group received the high-fat diet for six weeks, and a control group received a regular, grain- and vegetable-based diet.

"We then induced heart attack in all groups and assessed the cardiac function and extent of injury to the tissue," said Haar.

"Our results showed that injury in mice fed a high-fat diet acutely (two weeks or less) was reduced by 70 percent when compared to the groups fed on a high-fat diet for six weeks or fed on a control grain and vegetable based diet," she added.

She said that there was no cardioprotection observed in the six-week group, indicating that short-term splurges are key, and the effects of sustained high-fat feeding, including obesity and diabetes, do not contribute to cardioprotection.

"In addition, animals fed a high-fat diet for 24 hours and then returned to a control diet for 24 hours prior to heart attack experienced a prolonged or ``late phase`` protection against injury," she added.

"This shows that acute—or short-term—high-fat feeding in animal models does preserve cardiac function," she concluded.

The findings have been presented at the 2011 Experimental Biology Meeting in Washington, D.C.

ANI