DIABETES
February 22, 2010

Junk Food and Diabetes

Frequent eating of fast food fried chicken and burgers raises the likelihood of type 2 diabetes by 40-70%.

It’s no secret that fast food plays a leading role in the growing epidemic of obesity in this country, but new research from Boston University suggests that regularly consuming this kind of food increases one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes significantly. This form of diabetes typically strikes adults who are overweight or obese, and occurs when the body becomes insulin−resistant or doesn’t produce enough insulin.

Women who said they ate fast food or fried foods at least two times per week were a whopping 40−70% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the ten−year study than women who said they never ate these foods.

Julie R. Palmer and her team followed over 44,000 African−American women who completed questionnaires on their eating habits periodically over ten years. Women who said they ate fast food or fried foods at least two times per week were a whopping 40−70% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the ten−year study than women who said they never ate these foods. The fast−food eaters average body mass index was 28−29, which the CDC considers to be well into the overweight range (obesity starts at BMI of 30).

Not all fast foods proved to be bad, however. It was only the burger and fried chicken consumers that showed this trend – people who ate other kinds of fast foods did not have such an increased likelihood for developing type 2 diabetes.

The findings held even when the researchers controlled for other factors, like age, family history, and other lifestyle choices.

When the researchers took BMI out of the equation, they found a weaker link between burgers and fried chicken and diabetes. This suggests that the larger waistlines of the at−risk participants are behind the increased likelihood for the disease.

Though the study only looked at African−American women, the team says that it’s very likely that other populations would show similar results, and more research will be needed to delve further into the association between fast food and diabetes.

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