Western diets diabetes link

Fri, 30 Dec 2005
Fresh research carried out in America has linked fatty western diets, rich in meat and dairy products served in large portions, with the disruption of a particular insulin-producing gene. When inadequate insulin is produced by the body, blood sugar levels go unregulated, leading to diabetes.

Western diets and obesity have long been linked to the development and increase in diabetes, but this study pinpoints a clear and exact molecular link. Researchers at the San Diego School of Medicine, University of California, have proved for the first time that high-fat diets lead to type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 occurs, usually in adults, when the body builds up a resistance to insulin and ceases to react to its production. Type 2 is associated with severe complications including retinopathy, foot problems, heart disease and stroke.

The gene that links Western diet and type 2 is identified, in the study published by Cell, as GnT-4a. This enzyme allows pancreatic beta islet cells to monitor blood glucose and produce and release insulin. The study, carried out using mice, displayed that bodies lacking GnT-4a were prone to pancreatic cell failure. This study could have a significant impact on future research.
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