LEEDS, England -- Earlier this year, Ashley Clarke, 18, heard three words that few teens ever do: Eat junk food! The order came from his doctor.
Clarke has an extreme case of vasovagal syncope syndrome. That is a condition in which drops in blood pressure decrease blood flow to the brain, resulting in frequent dizziness or fainting.
Clarke's condition, which began four years ago, was so severe he blacked out three times a day. Clarke's family physician didn't know what to make of the constant fainting and chalked it up to stress.
One attack last spring was so bad, however, it left Clarke gasping for air. He was rushed to a hospital, where a doctor finally diagnosed his problem. "I was so overwhelmed someone had found the cause" Clarke told The Mirror, "I burst into tears."
Clarke's blood vessels are the source of his problem: They are too large. His heart doesn't have to pump hard to get blood through his body, which causes his chronic low blood pressure.
Several drugs can be prescribed for vasovagal syncope syndrome. Clarke's doctor ordered him instead to go on the "Homer Simpson diet" and gorge on doughnuts, chips, burgers, and fries. Upping his intake of junk food would offset the condition because the high fat and high salt content would raise his blood pressure.
Since beginning the diet, Clarke hasn't blacked out once. To keep himself from getting porky on all the fast food, he now works out regularly. His doctors expect that he will outgrow the condition and then be told to hold the fries.
ASHLEY CLARKE'S 'FATKINS' DIET
Bacon, sausages, eggs, baked beans, fried bread, pudding
Chicken burgers, french fries, pizza, potato chips
Roast chicken with vegetables and fries
Chocolate bars, potato chips, nuts, pies, cakes, pastries
Ashley Clarke prepares to follow his doctor's orders and feast at this groaning board of mostly junk food.
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