OJ Reduces Impact of Fast Food

April 7/The Toronto Star -- According to a study published in the March issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the impact of a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal can be neutralized or reduced if it is accompanied by a glass of orange juice.

The study found that the orange juice, which contains flavonoids -- a plant metabolite or compound that is believed to have healing properties -- reduces oxidative and inflammatory stress, said Husam Ghanim, first author of the study and a research assistant professor at the University of Buffalo's department of medicine.

The study involved three groups of subjects -- 10 subjects in each group between the ages of 20 and 40 -- who were given the same meal: a 900-calorie fast-food meal that included a breakfast egg muffin, a breakfast sausage muffin and hash browns.

The meal contained 51g of fat, 32g of protein and 81g of carbohydrates.

One group drank water with its meal, the other drank a 300-calorie glucose drink, and the third group drank a 300-calorie glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Among those who drank water or glucose, the markers of oxidation and inflammatory stress increased. However, for those who drank orange juice, the markers remained at the same level, said Ghanim in a phone interview.

The researchers tested the subjects' blood one hour, three hours and five hours after eating the meal.

The orange juice also prevented a significant increase in SOCS-3 -- an important mediator of insulin resistance which contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes.

These findings are important because inflammation is linked to high glucose and high triglycerides, which are known to be related to the development of cardiovascular disease, Ghanim said.

However, not just oranges could affect a high-fat meal. Potentially any food with high flavonoid content, such as grapefruit, red grapes and blueberries, could help.

From the April 12, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition