Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Intern Med. 1995 May;237(5):449-55.

Lipid intolerance in smokers.

Author information

Lundberg Laboratory for Diabetes Research, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg University, Sweden.



Smokers have recently been shown to be insulin resistant and to exhibit several characteristics of the insulin resistance syndrome (IRS). In this study, we assessed fasting and postprandial lipid levels in healthy, normolipidaemic, chronic smokers and a matched group of non-smoking individuals.


A standardized mixed meal (containing 3.78 MJ and 51 g of fat) was given in the morning after an overnight fast. The smokers were either abstinent from tobacco for 48 h or were allowed to smoke freely, including being allowed to smoke six cigarettes during the study.


Twenty-two middle-aged, healthy male subjects, nine habitual smokers and 13 non-smoking control subjects, were recruited to the study. The smokers had all been smoking at least 10 cigarettes per day for at least 10 years.


The smokers exhibited a lipid intolerance in that their postprandial increase in triglyceride levels was more than 50% higher than in the non-smokers' group. This lipid intolerance could not be discerned in the postabsorptive state because the fasting triglyceride levels were the same in both groups, while the smokers had significantly lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. The peak postprandial triglyceride level correlated closely and negatively with fasting HDL cholesterol, indicating an impaired lipolytic removal capacity in smokers.


Healthy, normotriglyceridaemic smokers exhibit an abnormal postprandial lipid metabolism consistent with lipid intolerance. It is suggested that postprandial hyperlipidaemia is a characteristic trait of the insulin resistance syndrome and that the defect in lipid removal is related to the low HDL cholesterol in this syndrome. The insulin resistance syndrome is likely to be an important reason for the increased propensity for cardiovascular disease in smokers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center