The effect of meal size on the cardiovascular responses to food ingestion

Br J Nutr. 1994 Jun;71(6):835-48. doi: 10.1079/bjn19940190.


Cardiac output (CO; indirect Fick), blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR; oscillometry), superior mesenteric artery blood flow (SMABF; Duplex Doppler) and calf blood flow (CBF; venous occlusion plethysmography) were recorded in the fasted state and for 120 min following the ingestion of 1, 2, and 3 MJ, high-carbohydrate meals in eight healthy females. BP was unchanged following food. HR (P < 0.0005) and CO (P < 0.005) rose significantly following all three meals. Integrated increments in CO over the postprandial period were greater after 3 MJ compared with the 1 and 2 MJ meals (P < 0.05). SMABF rose significantly following all three meals. The pattern of blood flow response was significantly different between the 1 and 3 MJ meals (interaction effect P < 0.02, ANOVA), with blood flow after the 3 MJ meal being significantly greater than flow after the 1 MJ meal at 15, 60, and 90 min. Similarly, the pattern of response was significantly different after the 2 and 3 MJ meals (interaction effect P < 0.03, ANOVA), with blood flow being significantly greater at 15 and 90 min after the 3 MJ meal. CBF fell significantly in the first 15 min after the 3 MJ meal and then recovered towards baseline values. No other significant changes in CBF were recorded. There are substantial peripheral and central cardiovascular changes after food in man and there appears to be a relationship between meal size and the extent of these changes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Cardiac Output / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Leg / blood supply
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / physiology
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology


  • Dietary Carbohydrates