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When you eat does your heart work harder?
Question Date: 2003-06-04
Answer 1:

Your heart doesn't really work because of the act of eating itself, but what you eat may cause it to work harder. Some foods, like those with lots of sugar or caffeine, can temporarily increase your heart rate.

Foods that are high in fats and cholesterol can, over long periods of time,lead to hardening or thickening of your arteries. This will make your heart have to pump harder to get the same amount of blood circulating through those hardened or thickened arteries. Foods that increase your blood pressure can do the same thing over time--foods high in fat or cholesterol,or foods with lots of caffeine or salt.(Actually, salt is complicated, and lots of it might cause high blood pressure in some people but not others.)

An important thing to remember, though, is that fats, cholesterol, and salt are all necessary and good parts of your diet! You'd probably die without them. Whether or not they cause harm depends on many other things: how much of them you eat, what else you eat them with, if you're drinking enough water, if you're getting enough exercise, how stressed out you are, and soon. So in the end, it's all about moderation and staying educated about when things work and when they don't.

In general, researchers who study health, diet, and the heart all seem to say the same thing: don't go on a fancy diet, and don't be fanatical about eating too much of this or too little of that. Just eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise. That seems to be the healthiest thing you can do! Thanks for the great question.

Answer 2:

Your heart works harder when (1) you are excited, or (2) you are draining a large amount of energy quickly.

Usually, eating does not constitute a workout, but slavering over a loved food might generate the necessary excitement.

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