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Junk food diet could be as harmful as diabetes to kidneys: Study

14 May 2016

A junk food diet could be as harmful to the kidneys as diabetes, according to a new study published in the journal Experimental Physiology, reported.

In type 2 diabetes, the body either does not  produce enough insulin or does not react to it which leads to accumulation of sugar (glucose) in the blood. This could lead to severe long-term consequences for organs, including the kidneys, where it could cause diabetic kidney disease.

The new study led by Dr Havovi Chichger of Anglia Ruskin University and funded by Diabetes UK, found that glucose transportation in junk food diets was quite similar to that seen in type 2 diabetes.

The researchers studied the effect of high fat and high sugar diets on blood sugar levels and the different glucose transporters in the kidneys and the effect  of these transporters was compared with the changes seen in models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

They found that certain types of glucose transporters (GLUT and SGLT) as also their regulatory proteins were present in a higher number in cases of type 2 diabetes which was also the case with a high fat diet and a junk food diet.

Dr Chichger, senior lecturer in Biomedical Science at the Anglia Ruskin, said,

''The Western diet contains more and more processed junk food and fat, and there is a well-established link between excessive consumption of this type of food and recent increases in the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

''In our study, type 1 and type 2 diabetes both induce changes in glucose transport in the kidney, but junk food or a diet high in fat causes changes that are very similar to those found in type 2 diabetes.

''Understanding how diet can affect sugar handling in the kidneys, and understanding whether the use of new inhibitors can reverse these changes, could help to protect kidneys from further damage.''

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