Habitual street food intake and subclinical carotid atherosclerosis
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Street food (SF) is defined as out-of-home food consumption, and generally consists of energy-dense meals rich in saturated fats and poor in fibers, vitamins and antioxidants. Though SF consumption may have unfavorable metabolic and cardiovascular effects, its possible association with atherosclerosis has not been considered. The association between habitual SF consumption and asymptomatic carotid atherosclerosis, defined as the presence of plaques and/or increased intima-media thickness, was therefore investigated. One thousand thirty-five randomly selected adult participants without known diabetes and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases were cross-sectionally investigated in Palermo, Italy. Each participant answered a food frequency questionnaire and underwent high-resolution ultrasonographic evaluation of both carotid arteries. Laboratory blood measurements were obtained in a subsample of 541 participants. A score of SF consumption was obtained by categorizing each of ten SFs consumed more or less than once a month. Participants were divided into three classes based on the tertiles of SF score distribution. Age, gender distribution, body mass index (BMI), prevalence of hypertension and of clinically silent carotid atherosclerosis (I tertile 20.8 %, II tertile 19.7 %, III tertile 19.0 %; P = 0.85) were not significantly different among the three groups. Clinically silent carotid atherosclerosis was independently associated with age, gender and hypertension. The score of SF consumption was significantly correlated with BMI (r = 0.10; P = 0.04), uric acid (r = 0.16; P = 0.002) and high-density lipoproteins-cholesterol (r = −0.13; P = 0.009) blood concentrations. In conclusion, this study suggests that SF consumption is not associated with clinically silent carotid atherosclerosis. However, given the association of SF consumption with other cardiovascular risk factors, caution requires that this category of food should be limited in patients at high cardiovascular risk.
KeywordsAtherosclerosis Carotid intima-media thickness Hypertension Obesity Street food
Associazione Onlus Nutrizione e Salute, Palermo, Italia.
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
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