New research shows that eating fast food can affect the inflammatory responses in blood vessels. Triglycerides, fat molecules associated with “bad cholesterol”, are known to increase the inflammatory response of the endothelium cells lining the arteries.

A project at UC Davis is trying to measure the triglyceride levels that can cause endothelial inflammation to help understand a person’s risk for vascular disease.
There is a link between belly fat, inflammation and thickening of the arterial walls that can cause heart disease and strokes.

The study took 61 volunteers with normal and high fasting triglyceride levels and different waist girths and fed them 2 breakfast sandwiches, hash browns, and orange juice.

After eating the high-fat meal, a particle called triglyceride-rich lipoprotein (TGRL) can bind to the endothelium lining arteries triggering inflammation and causing an immune response that brings white blood cells to repair the damage.

The researchers found that those with waists larger than 32 inches and high blood levels of triglycerides produced large TRGL particles which bound easily to the endothelial cells and caused inflammation in response to this immune chemical “trigger”.

Over time this leads to atherosclerosis, heart disease, and strokes.