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Watching your sugar intake isn’t enough: How high fat consumption can raise blood sugar

September 4, 2012 in News

Obesity is well known for increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as is the fact that a high fat diet can contribute to obesity. But a new study conducted by the University of Michigan Health System has revealed that the link between consuming foods high in fat and diabetes goes even deeper.

When you eat foods that are high in fat, molecules known as “free fatty acids” end up in your bloodstream. The more fat you eat, the more of these molecules accumulate. These free fatty acids also get stored in your body fat.

Another molecule in your body, called Bcl10, is mostly known as a protein that helps your body properly respond to infection. The University of Michigan team found that this same protein has another job, and plays a critical role in how the liver responds to free fatty acids.

By feeding a high-fat diet to mice with either normal or deficient levels of Bcl10, the researchers found that the mice with deficient levels of the protein were much less likely to develop insulin resistance.

In the liver, free fatty acids can cause inflammation and insulin resistance; insulin resistance leads to higher and less controlled blood sugar, which in turn is a huge risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Agent has more in-depth information about how diabetes develops at this link.

What the researchers found was that the protein Bcl10 is necessary for the free fatty acids to produce this inflammation and insulin resistance. Lower levels of Bcl10 in mice led to improved glucose regulation, even during a high-fat diet, and lower levels of insulin resistance.

What does all this mean? First of all, now that researchers better understand how what you eat causes the chemical changes leading to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, they can begin working on developing new and improved treatment options that could help treat or prevent diabetes. However, it will take time to develop any new treatments.

What do the research findings mean for you right now? This is one more item on the long list of reasons why it is very important for anyone, especially those with diabetes, to try to eat a balanced diet. Foods high in fat are high in calories, which can make it hard to stick to the number of calories you need to eat to maintain or achieve a healthy weight. Your body does need some fat intake, but keeping within your recommended fat consumption can only help your health.

You can read the original news release at ScienceDaily. The research article was published in Cell Reports, and you can read it via ScienceDirect.com here.

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