Diabetes: Sugar and fat damage cells in the pancreas

The fast food menu with burgers, fries and soft drinks supports the development of type 2 diabetes: When foods high in fructose and high in fat are consumed at the same time, the cells in the small intestine produce particularly large amounts of glycerate, which damages insulin-producing pancreatic cells.

It has long been known that fructose has harmful effects on the liver and promotes fatty liver. This occurs when the metabolism of the small intestine in fructose is overloaded and the level of fructose in the blood is too high. But type 2 diabetes can also support too much fructose if you eat too much fat. Experiments with mice that have been fed high fat and sugar show this: sugar is broken down in the gut into glucose and fructose. Fructose is metabolized by cells in the small intestine, and this process was particularly effective when the diet also contained a lot of fat. As a result, a fructose metabolism intermediate called glycerate entered the bloodstream and damaged the cells in the pancreas, causing the mice to produce less insulin. According to a research team in the journal Cell Metabolism.

The results are consistent with the observation that people who have high levels of glycerate due to a rare disease are at a higher risk of diabetes.

The results of the study suggest that long-term high levels of glycerate from high-fat and high-sugar foods, which are typical of the Western diet, can damage the pancreas and promote the development of diabetes. “Clarifying the metabolic processes of the foods we eat is a critical component in optimizing our nutritional health. Understanding these processes allows us to develop more targeted and individualized treatments for increasingly common diseases, such as diabetes, ”said Dr. Ali Khademhosseini of the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation in California.

Co: DOI 10.1016 / j.cmet.2022.05.007

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