Heart health

That delicious breakfast sandwich can seriously harm your heart

Nov. 11, 2012 at 10:29 AM ET

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So delicious, but so dangerous for your heart.

By Tracy Miller, Prevention

You're pressed for time, so you hit the drive-thru on the way to work. Since you're already there, you figure: Why not make it a cheat day and order a savory, cheesy breakfast sandwich? Just one won't hurt—after all, many breakfast sammies, including a McDonald's Sausage McMuffin, only register around 400 calories. What could be truly bad about that?

We hate to burst your bacon-lined bubble, but the answer is "plenty," according to new evidence. Researchers in Canada measured the blood vessel function of a group of college students on two separate occasions: once on a day they had no breakfast, and once after they consumed two fast-food breakfast sandwiches that clocked about 900 calories and 50 grams of fat total. Just two hours after eating the sandwiches, the subjects' velocity time integral—a measure of how efficiently your blood vessels function—had dropped by 15-20 percent. That means their blood vessels weren't dilating to their full capacity.

So does that mean you should never bite into that breakfast sandwich? While that cheesy sandwich won't literally kill you, over time the buildup of fat in your arteries can significantly up your risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.

That hardly seems like a good way to start the day—especially when you consider these easy-to-make breakfast sandwiches that are full of heart-healthy fats and even—wait for it—fruits and vegetables.

1. A PB&B Sandwich: A delicious, indulgent treat that's actually...good for you? This healthy sandwich clocks fewer than 400 calories and has protein and good-fat-righ peanut butter, potassium-packing banana, and a good amount of fiber, too.

2. Hearty Egg & Avocado Sandwich: The name says it all, and we're not sure it gets more delicious than this. Not only does this delicious sammy pack 24 g of protein, it's under 400 calories, too.

3. Breakfast Quesadilla: Yum! Ours has just 350 calories per serving and boasts 23 g of protein, which means you'll be fuller, longer.

4. Sunrise Sandwich with Turkey, Cheddar and Guac: Sub in lean turkey for Canadian bacon, add in lycopene-rich tomato, and crown it all with a spread of heart-healthy guacamole and you get this!

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