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B. Fast Food May Speed Up Heart Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. Oxidized cholesterol, a harmful form of fat common in Western diets, may speed up the clogging of arteries. Ilona Staprans, head of a lipid research laboratory affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, says oxidized cholesterol is found mostly in fried and processed foods.

Staprans: Everybody will tell it's bad for you but nobody will know exactly why, and as long as you don't understand the mechanism and why, people don't really take it seriously.

Narrator: In recent animal studies, oxidized cholesterol damaged artery walls, causing fatty deposits to accumulate at great speed. Although it would be ideal to completely avoid fast foods, Staprans admits it's hard to do in today's society.

Staprans: Everybody's busy, everybody's running around and nobody has time to cook and nobody has time to buy fresh fruit or vegetables. So it's easier to stop off and go to a hamburger place and have a bag of french fries.

Narrator: That's OK every now and then - just don't make a habit of it. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.