Recent findings in the study of postprandial lipemia

Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2001 Nov;3(6):462-70. doi: 10.1007/s11883-001-0036-5.


The study of postprandial metabolism is in the early stages compared with other areas of atherosclerosis research. Recent advances in postprandial research have included improvements in methodology and the investigation of factors that modulate the lipemic response to a meal. Enough studies have now been performed that normal ranges have been identified for blood triacylglycerol (TAG) concentrations that occur after a healthy patient consumes a standardized-mixed meal or a high-fat shake designed to elicit lipemia. Typical postprandial concentrations of other metabolites, such as apolipoproteins B48 and B100 or gastrointestinal hormones (eg, cholecystokinin), have not been studied sufficiently to be able to qualify what represents a standard postprandial response. The method of data analysis is also a key point to consider. Data from children are now becoming available, and the specific effects of ethnicity have just begun to be explored. New areas of study include the effects of different fatty acids (monosaturates or polyunsaturates), the sources of chylomicron lipids (dietary TAG and cholesterol versus that newly synthesized in the body), and the effects of alcoholic beverages consumed with the meal. Variables that can also affect the results of a meal test are under investigation. These include the type of food that is consumed the day before the meal test, the time of day the test is performed, and the palatability of the food. Given solid evidence that delayed postprandial lipemia is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease, future scientific investigation in the area of postprandial metabolism is likely to yield discoveries that will significantly contribute to advancements in disease treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Digestion / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / blood
  • Hyperlipidemias / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Lipids
  • Triglycerides