One of the limitations for ranking foods and meals for healthiness on the basis of the glycaemic index (GI) is that the GI is subject to manipulation by addition of fat. Postprandial lipemia, defined as a rise in circulating triglyceride containing lipoproteins following consumption of a meal, has been recognised as a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Many non-modifiable factors (pathological conditions, genetic background, age, sex and menopausal status) and life-style factors (physical activity, smoking, alcohol and medication use, dietary choices) may modulate postprandial lipemia. The structure and the composition of a food or a meal consumed also plays an important role in the rate of postprandial appearance and clearance of triglycerides in the blood. However, a major difficulty in grading foods, meals and diets according to their potential to elevate postprandial triglyceride levels has been the lack of a standardised marker that takes into consideration both the general characteristics of the food and the food's fat composition and quantity. The release rate of lipids from the food matrix during digestion also has an important role in determining the postprandial lipemic effects of a food product. This article reviews the factors that have been shown to influence postprandial lipemia with a view to develop a novel index for ranking foods according to their healthiness. This index should take into consideration not only the glycaemic but also lipemic responses.
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- Lipemic load
- Postprandial lipemia