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High-Fat Meal May Trigger Asthma
Date:5/16/2010

more than 25 percent to 35 percent of its calories from fat, according to recommendations from the American Heart Association.

The low-fat meal contained a low-fat yogurt. That meal was 200 calories and contained 13 percent fat.

Sputum samples were collected at the start of the study and four hours after the meal. In addition, lung function was tested at both of those times.

The researchers found that markers of airway inflammation increased significantly among those who ate the high-fat meal. They also found that lung function was affected as well. And people who were given the high-fat meal who then used their asthma inhaler medication saw just a 1 percent improvement in their lung function. Those on the low-fat meal saw a 4.5 percent increase in their lung function after using their medication.

"Further work is needed to understand the clinical relevance of these observations. Nonetheless, a difference of 3 to 4 percent [in lung function] is approaching a level which can be perceived by patients," said Wood.

Wood said the researchers don't know exactly why the body seems to respond to a high-fat meal this way, but said the immune system might be recognizing saturated fat as an invading pathogen, which prompts inflammation.

She also said the researchers don't yet know how long these effects might last, but added that if someone is consuming high-fat foods every day, they may be experiencing these effects for at least several hours a day.

Dr. Thomas Leath, division director of allergy and immunology at Scott & White Healthcare in Round Rock, Texas, said, "I wouldn't have thought that the food itself would cause the inflammation. Eating that way can lead to obesity, and fat cells can definitely cause quite a bit of inflammation, but I'm surprised one meal could do this."

Leath said he doubted that the effect on lung function was significant enough for people to notice, but said
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