High Fat Meals Hurt Lung Function

Jolie Bookspan, M.Ed, PhD, FAWM

I am still getting caught up with work from the sports medicine meeting I attended in late May.

An interesting study was presented at the pulmonary and respiratory physiology session -
"Effects of a High-Fat Meal on Pulmonary Function in Healthy Subjects." It is known that high fat meals negatively affect people with asthma and other pulmonary problems. It is also known that a high-fat diet increases internal inflammation, which is associated with higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis (possibly other forms of arthritis such as osteoarthritis), and several other chronic illnesses. What about effects on your lungs and breathing?

The study looked at the effect of a high-fat meal on airway inflammation and pulmonary function. The researchers tested subjects for total cholesterol and triglycerides, then fed them a high fat meal. Subjects were tested after the meal for cholesterol and triglycerides, various pulmonary functions, markers of airway inflammation (exhaled nitric oxide), and C-reactive protein, which is a marker of systemic inflammation. The researchers found that the high fat meal increased total cholesterol, triglycerides, and exhaled nitric oxide. They concluded that the results suggest that high-fat meals may contribute to inflammatory diseases of the airway and lung (in addition to other health consequences).

Just as smoking or taking amphetamines are not healthy, but help weight loss, popular weight loss diets "work" but have health drawbacks. Check your meals to see if you eat high fat, whether for a diet, or just from unhealthful eating habits.

A diet may help weight loss, but be unhealthy. An exercise may work a muscle but be bad for your joints. A medicine may fix a disease but harm the patient. You don't have to choose. Many fun healthy ways to exercise and control weight that don't harm the body are given throughout this Fitness Fixer blog.

Click the labels under this post for related posts that give information about breathing exercises and healthier nutrition.