New research has shown that eating a junk food diet (here’s a story we posted about 10 highly fattening foods) or a diet high in fat can be as damaging to the kidneys as diabetes. In fact, the problems caused by eating junk food or a high fat diet, are similar to those who have type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes happens when sugar, or glucose, levels build up in your bloodstream and there isn’t enough insulin to move the sugar into your cells. This causes your body to rely on alternative energy sources in your tissues, muscles, and organs. As the disease progresses, the symptoms may become more severe and potentially dangerous. Diabetes has a powerful effect on your heart and women with diabetes are twice as likely to have another heart attack after the first one. It can also lead to complications during pregnancy.

For the study, researchers fed rats a diet of junk food (which consisted of cheese, chocolate bars and marshmallows) for eight weeks or gave them special food that was high in fat for five weeks. They then looked at what those diets did to the animals’ blood sugar levels and the glucose transports that are in the kidneys (those transporters play a central role in diabetes – problems with them can lead to significant issues for internal organs).

From the Independent:

“The study found that the rats with type 2 diabetes had more of certain kinds of glucose transporters and regulatory proteins. But the diet caused similar changes in those same receptors – meaning that it could lead to the same problems as experienced by people with diabetes. But since those same problems can be found with junk food and high fat diets, similar problems might be seen in the future, the researchers said.”

Dr.Havovi Chichger, a senior lecturer in biomedical science at Anglia Ruskin University and the lead author on the study, believes that a new treatment for diabetic patients includes blocking those glucose transporters in the kidneys, to reduce blood glucose levels. But, what if instead we taught people how to eat? What if a doctors first discussion was about diet. Not. More. Drugs.

The Standard American Diet (or SAD) and the Western diet contain so much processed junk food and fat even though we KNOW there is a well-established link between excessive consumption of this type of food and increases in obesity and type 2 diabetes. It doesn’t have to be this way though. We can take control of our health, we can make better choices, we can teach our children to, we can demand better food with our wallets.

XO- Erin

Source: Independent