Junk food diet may increase risk of stroke: study

Ottawa – A diet high in calories, sugar and sodium may increase a person's risk of having a stroke at a younger age, according to a study from the Heart & Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery.

As part of the study, laboratory rats were given access to healthy food pellets and junk food such as cookies and sausage, as well as water and a liquid similar to soft drinks, a press release from the foundation stated. The rats preferred the junk food. After two months of feasting on the unhealthy food, the rats showed signs of metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions – such as high blood sugar and abdominal obesity – that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

The rats were the equivalent of 16- to 22-year-old humans, leading researchers to conclude that people in their 30s and 40s may soon be having strokes because of overconsumption of junk food.

Researchers recommended exercise and a balanced diet to help prevent metabolic syndrome.

The study was presented Oct. 1 at the Canadian Stroke Congress.

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