A Few Months On Typical American Diet Increases Diabetes Risk

Even short-term exposure to a typical American diet raises the risk for diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, according to researchers at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM).

The American, or “western diet” is characterized by excessive amounts of fat and refined sugars. For five months, NYITCOM researchers fed animals a meal supplement comparable to a typical American diet and monitored the animals for metabolic and cardiovascular changes.

After five months the American-diet animals had increased blood pressure, blood vessel damage, and four times more abdominal fat than the normal-diet control group. Despite these changes, which are precursors for type 2 diabetes, the female animals did not look obese nor had their glucose and A1C levels risen significantly.

“Our findings suggest that short-term exposure to the western diet can put individuals at risk for developing vascular damage long before the telltale signs of diabetes are present,” said Maria Alicia Carrillo Sepulveda, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biomedical Sciences at NYITCOM. “This may explain why some diabetics who successfully manage their blood glucose still experience other cardiovascular diseases, like hypertension, even while receiving treatment.”

The NYITCOM study indicates, note the researchers, a need for physicians to consider the broad spectrum of disease consequences since one aspect of an ailment never tells the entire story of a patient’s health.

“Without the presence of traditional biomarkers, there were still multiple indications suggesting the onset of pre-diabetes, and we would have been unaware of dire medical conditions had we simply been looking for the conventional signs,” said researcher Benjamin Kramer, a fourth-year medical student.

The need for physicians to address their patients' dietary habits was emphasized by the investigators as well. To continue their work, the research team will explore whether healthy eating habits and exercise offset the consequences of early-life exposure to the western diet.

Source: NYIT
Photo credit: shirokazan

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