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Food that hurts: what food has been linked to diabetes

Victor LitvinenkoLife
Food that hurts: what food has been linked to diabetes

Doctors often attribute type 2 diabetes to dietary habits, lack of exercise and negative thinking. But thinking good thoughts is not enough, according to American scientists from Tufts University. You also need to be born in the right geographic location!

Researchers have found a link between the features of national cuisine and the risk of diabetes. Residents of central Asia and Latin America are most likely to have type 2 diabetes. The presence of a large number of dishes made of rice, processed meat, and flour products made of white wheat flour played its role.

Scientists found that 70% of new patients with type 2 diabetes worldwide are residents of cities in eastern Europe, central Asia and Latin America. People there eat pureed rice, products made of white flour and dishes from processed meat too much, as reported in the scientific and medical journal Nature Medicine. Most of these people are from big cities, where there are more women than men.

U.S. researchers at Tufts University created a model based on 1,220 studies that were conducted from 1980 to 2020. This allowed them to predict the number of cases of type 2 diabetes associated with dietary patterns.

The scientific data showed: in 2018, more than 14.1 million people in 184 countries developed type 2 diabetes, representing 70 percent of all new diagnoses of diabetes worldwide. Residents of Eastern Europe, central Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean are more likely than others to become hostages to diabetes.

Scientists studied many factors that may have influenced the development of the disease in one way or another. They paid special attention to diet and found that among eleven dietary habits, the most important were three: excessive consumption of white rice, refined wheat and processed meat.

Eating habits: the carbohydrate-insulin model

The authors of the so-called carbohydrate-insulin theory link obesity and type 2 diabetes with an increase in simple carbohydrates in the diet of modern man, as well as with the shortening of intervals between meals.

According to scientists, even before the early 50s of the 20th century, people mostly ate three meals a day without snacks. This daily routine regulated sudden bursts of insulin after each meal. In doing so, the body functions at low insulin levels for an extended period of time.

If a person had breakfast at 8:00 a.m., lunch at 1:00 p.m. and dinner at 6:00 p.m., the time gap between meals was about 5 hours. And the time period between dinner and breakfast the next day was more than 14 hours.

Modern eating habits include frequent snacking, eating simple carbohydrates and large amounts of sugar. This type of eating activates insulin production, which increases the risks of diabetes and obesity.

The phenomenon of carbohydrate metabolism

Despite the many arguments of the carbohydrate-insulin theory, scientists still cannot explain why some people whose diets consist of carbohydrate foods have relatively low rates of obesity and less diabetes.

For example, Japanese people whose diets are 62% carbohydrate-based are much less obese than Americans whose diets are 50% carbohydrate-based. But obesity is much more common among Japanese who have emigrated to the United States.

Be that as it may, one should not hope for "good genes," the scientists say, recommending the principle of a "healthy plate," which consists of: 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% fish and meat, 25% whole grains.

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