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Scientists Say Fast Food Heightens Risk of Diabetes


A new study has found that people who eat fast food are much more likely to develop insulin resistance than those who don't.

A study published in the international journal the Lancet found that people whose diet consists primarily of fatty food - such as hamburgers, french fries and pizza - weigh more and have an increased risk of insulin resistance compared to people who limit their consumption of foods high in fat.

Insulin resistance is a condition in which peoples' insulin does not process food effectively and abnormal amounts of sugar circulate in the blood stream. The result is high blood sugar levels that can make such individuals more prone to high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Investigators followed more than three thousand people who reported their fast food eating habits. After 15 years, the U.S. researchers found that those who ate at least two meals per week at a fast food restaurant were four-point-five kilograms heavier, and they had more than a 100 percent risk of insulin resistance compared to those who limited their intake of fast food to one meal or less per week.

Dr. Alan Rubin has written a number of books on diabetes-related topics. He said the connection between insulin resistance and diets rich in fat has long been suspected. "They wanted to have a study, which very clearly showed that there was something going on in the fast food that pointed to insulin resistance, and I think this study does a very good job of doing that," he said.

Dr. Rubin said the findings have worldwide implications. "You go to India and China and you find that the occurrence of diabetes is growing so rapidly there that with their huge populations of over a billion people in each of those countries, they are going to suffer from tremendous amounts of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and so forth," he said.

In another health-related development, international health officials say they worry survivors of the tsunami who have otherwise manageable diseases, like diabetes and high blood pressure, will begin to suffer because they can't receive care at south Asia's decimated health care facilities.

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