Fast food and coffee make for a dangerous health combination

Everyone gets a craving for a fast-food fix once in a while, but a new study shows you shouldn't follow up that meal with a coffee because doing so can result in a spike in blood sugar similar to levels in pre-diabetics.

The study, conducted by doctorate student Marie-Soleil Beaudoin at the University of Guelph, found drinking caffeinated coffee six hours after eating fast food high in fat resulted in blood sugar levels increasing by 65 per cent. A healthy person's blood sugar levels normally spike after eating a fast-food meal, but drinking two large cups of coffee hours later doubles the effect.

Beaudoin says the saturated fats found in fast foods interfere with the body's ability to clear sugar from the blood, which results in the initial spike. When caffeine is added to the equation, the problem is compounded.

Both fat and caffeine have the ability to impair communication between the gut and the pancreas, according to Beaudoin, therefore making it difficult for the body to get rid of sugar in the bloodstream.

The high levels of caffeine found in coffee (specifically the two cups of coffee that participants were given in this study) are the problem.

To avoid it, Beaudoin told the Toronto Star people should switch to decaf coffee or tea, as participants who were given decaf coffee in the study did not have the same jump in blood sugar. She also suggests cutting out the fast food altogether if you have a morning cup of java.

Beaudoin says she concluded not only do saturated fatty acids have an acute effect on health, but those at risk of metabolic disease can improve their quality of life by cutting down on caffeine.

Beaudoin's study only looked at male participants, and did not indicate if the effects were the same for females. It also focused on healthy, lean men between the ages of 20 and 30. This study was published today in the Journal of Nutrition.

(Photo: AFP)