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Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;31(6):934-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2012.04.008. Epub 2012 Jun 5.

Endothelial function and other biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in frequent consumers of street food.

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Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Specialistica, Laboratorio di Nutrizione Clinica, Facoltà di Medicina, Università di Palermo, Via del Vespro 129 - I, 90127 Palermo, Italy.



Street food (SF) is defined as out-of-home food consumption, and generally consists of energy dense meals rich in saturated fats, and poor in fibers, vitamins and anti-oxidants. Though SF consumption may have unfavorable metabolic and cardiovascular effects, its possible association with endothelial function has not been considered.


Participants were recruited among those who took part in a previous study of ours, done in Palermo, Italy, which investigated the association between consumption of SF and health in 1002 people. In that study, a score of SF consumption was obtained by categorizing each of ten foods consumed less than or more than once a month (0 = never consumed, 1 = once a month or less, 2 = more than once a month; thus, the sum of single scores could range from 0 to 20). Based on the interquartile values of SF score distribution, in the present study we included low SF consumers, defined on the basis of the first interquartile SF score range (range: 0-1), and high SF consumers, who were those in the forth interquartile range of the SF score (range: 7-20). The group of low SF consumers had 12 participants (median value of SF score: 1; range: 0-1), that of high SF consumers had 13 (median value of SF score: 11; range: 10-16). The brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), a measure of endothelial function, and other cardiovascular biomarkers were investigated.


High SF consumers had higher BMI (P = 0.026), larger waist circumference (P = 0.041), higher levels of cholesterol (P = 0.013) and uric acid serum concentrations (P = 0.002) compared with low SF consumers. The high SF consumers had a significantly lower FMD (5.4 ± 2.1 versus 8.8 ± 2.8%; ANCOVA with BMI and waist circumpherence as covariates: P = 0.025) than the high consumers. Other cardiovascular biomarkers did not significantly differ between the two groups.


This study suggests that high SF consumption in Palermo may be associated with endothelial dysfunction in healthy people, probably indicating that this category of foods should be limited, especially in people at high cardiovascular risk.

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