Plowing through a pile of wings or sharing an extra-large pepperoni pie with the guys every now and then is all right, but doing it on the regular can cause health problems once you’re out of your 20s—and not just a spare tire. “It is a little-known fact that when you eat an unhealthy meal, within 20 minutes, your arteries constrict and you lose 20% of your blood flow,” Masley says. “This diminished circulation can last for six to eight hours and is the reason you often feel heavy, tired, and stuck in your chair. During this time, you grow artery plaque at an accelerated rate, and you are at higher risk for a heart attack and stroke.”
The Fix: Don’t freak out about suddenly keeling over. Just have a game plan that’s easy to follow when the waitress comes over to take your order: “Order the grilled chicken, shrimp, or steak with a salad,” Masley says. “Double the veggie portion and skip the bread and starch.”
Even in group situations at someone’s house, like when everyone is ordering pizza while watching the game, you can minimize the damage: “Get a salad with Italian dressing and eat it before having one or two pieces of pizza, and skip the bread sticks,” Masley says.