Diabetes: Sugar and fat damage the cells of the pancreas

A fast food menu with hamburgers, fries and soft drinks promotes the development of type 2 diabetes: if you eat fructose-rich and high-fat foods at the same time, the cells of the small intestine produce a particularly high amount of glycerin, which damages the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

It has long been known that fructose has harmful effects on the liver and promotes the development of fatty liver. This happens when the fructose metabolism in the small intestine is overloaded and the fructose level in the blood is too high. But type 2 diabetes can also be promoted by too much fructose if it is eaten with a lot of fat. This is proved by experiments with mice fed high in fat and sugar: sugar is broken down in the intestine into glucose and fructose. Fructose is metabolized by the cells of the small intestine and this process was particularly effective when the diet also contained a lot of fat. As a result, an intermediate product of fructose metabolism called glycerate made its way into the bloodstream and damaged pancreatic cells, causing the mice to produce less insulin. This was reported by a research group in the specialized journal Cell Metabolism.

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

The results of the study suggest that long-term elevated levels of glycerate from foods high in fat and sugar, 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 key component in optimizing our nutritional health. Understanding these processes allows us to develop more targeted and personalized treatments for increasingly common diseases such as diabetes, “said Dr. Ali Khademhosseini of the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation in California.

What: DOI 10.1016 / j.cmet.2022.05.007

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