European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 109, Issue 3, pp 499–506 | Cite as

Effects of a high-fat meal on pulmonary function in healthy subjects

  • Sara K. Rosenkranz
  • Dana K. Townsend
  • Suzanne E. Steffens
  • Craig A. Harms
Original Article


Obesity has important health consequences, including elevating risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. A high-fat diet is known to contribute to obesity. Little is known regarding the effect of a high-fat diet on pulmonary function, despite the dramatic increase in the prevalence of respiratory ailments (e.g., asthma). The purpose of our study was to determine whether a high-fat meal (HFM) would increase airway inflammation and decrease pulmonary function in healthy subjects. Pulmonary function tests (PFT) (forced expiratory volume in 1-s, forced vital capacity, forced expiratory flow at 25–75% of vital capacity) and exhaled nitric oxide (eNO; airway inflammation) were performed in 20 healthy (10 men, 10 women), inactive subjects (age 21.9 ± 0.4 years) pre and 2 h post HFM (1 g fat/1 kg body weight; 74.2 ± 4.1 g fat). Total cholesterol, triglycerides, and C-reactive protein (CRP; systemic inflammation) were determined via a venous blood sample pre and post HFM. Body composition was measured via dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. The HFM significantly increased total cholesterol by 4 ± 1%, and triglycerides by 93 ± 3%. ENO also increased (p < 0.05) due to the HFM by 19 ± 1% (pre 17.2 ± 1.6; post 20.6 ± 1.7 ppb). ENO and triglycerides were significantly related at baseline and post-HFM (r = 0.82, 0.72 respectively). Despite the increased eNO, PFT or CRP did not change (p > 0.05) with the HFM. These results demonstrate that a HFM, which leads to significant increases in total cholesterol, and especially triglycerides, increases exhaled NO. This suggests that a high-fat diet may contribute to chronic inflammatory diseases of the airway and lung.


Airway inflammation High-fat Pulmonary function Triglycerides Cholesterol 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara K. Rosenkranz
    • 1
  • Dana K. Townsend
    • 1
  • Suzanne E. Steffens
    • 1
  • Craig A. Harms
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of KinesiologyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA

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