NEW ORLEANS -- Looking forward to a huge Thanksgiving dinner? Maybe you should consider some dietary downsizing.
A study released Tuesday suggests that an unusually heavy meal increases the risk of a heart attack.
Of course, it's hardly news that unhealthy eating is bad for the heart. But the latest research concludes that simply putting away one huge meal -- regardless of a person's usual eating habits -- is a bad thing.
Doctors from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that an unusually heavy meal roughly quadruples the ordinary risk of a heart attack during the two hours after eating.
The risk is especially high -- 10 times normal -- during the first hour after pushing away from the table.
But after three hours, the extra risk is almost gone.
Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez presented the data at a meeting in New Orleans of the American Heart Association. In recent years, the same team has calculated the increased risk from a variety of other everyday activities.
To put the big-dinner hazard into perspective, Lopez-Jimenez said, "it is similar to having sex, but it is not as great as heavy exercise."
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