Nav: Home

Food insecurity leading to type 2 diabetes

June 26, 2019

A collaborative study by a team of Connecticut researchers shows there is a strong connection between food insecurity and insulin resistance, the underlying problem in type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance occurs when cells are not able to respond normally to the hormone insulin.

The research by UConn School of Medicine, UConn School of Dental Medicine, Yale School of Public Health, Quinnipiac University, Hartford Hospital, and the Hispanic Health Council, suggests that for Latinos with type 2 diabetes food insecurity is linked to the disease's development and progression.

Published in the June issue of Journal of Nutrition, the study points to the more than 40 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, who live in food-insecure households where access to nutritionally adequate and safe food is limited or uncertain.

In the United States, the rate of food-insecure households is higher for Latinos, who are also disproportionately affected by metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. In fact, rates of type 2 diabetes are 12.1% among Hispanics compared with 7.4% for non-Hispanic whites.

According to the researchers, food insecurity may increase inflammation in the body. These can be caused by diet-related obesity and excess abdominal fat. Also, food insecurity is stressful. It is often accompanied by mental distress, which triggers the release of cortisol and other stress hormones. These hormones may lead to the progression of insulin resistance.

"Our findings support the plausibility of links between food insecurity and poor health," says Dr. Angela Bermúdez-Millán, assistant professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Health Care at UConn School of Medicine.

"Resources should be redirected toward ending or decreasing food insecurity, a powerful social determinant of health."

The study included 121 study Latinos with type 2 diabetes. Sixty-eight percent of the participants were classified as food insecure.

Researchers tested the relationship between household food insecurity and insulin resistance using baseline data from the Community Health Workers Assisting Latinos Manage Stress and Diabetes (CALMS-D) randomized controlled trial. Fasting blood glucose, insulin levels, stress hormones, and markers of inflammation were measured.

They found that, compared with food secure individuals, food insecure individuals had significantly higher insulin resistance, insulin, glucose, stress hormones, inflammation, and total cholesterol. Food insecure individuals had higher insulin resistance than those who were food secure. Inflammation and stress hormones were the mechanisms through which food insecurity and insulin resistance were linked.

According to Bermúdez-Millán, the findings highlight the importance of implementing interventions that address food insecurity in order to mitigate its effects on inflammation, stress, and insulin resistance.

"Food insecurity is prevalent, widespread, and detrimental to health," she says. "Health care facilities can also help address the issue by screening for food insecurity and connecting patients to available resources and interventions."

Bermúdez-Millán is also calling on legislators to create policies to decrease food insecurity. She recommends modifying disbursement of SNAP benefits to possibly yield downstream benefits for diabetes control, and increasing access to minimally processed foods and more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in local stores or community or home gardening venues.

The researchers note that a limitation of their study was that it was cross sectional, meaning participants were studied at one point in time. It is possible that those people with worse insulin resistance develop more inflammation and stress hormones, which make them sick or disabled, which in turn can deplete financial resources and lead to food insecurity.
-end-
In addition to Bermúdez-Millán, the research team included Julie A. Wagner, UConn School of Dental Medicine; Richard Feinn, Quinnipiac University; Sofia Segura-Pérez and Grace Damio, Hispanic Health Council; Jyoti Chhabra, Hartford Hospital; and Rafael Pérez-Escamilla of Yale School of Public Health.

Support for the work came from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities grant R01MD005879 and American Diabetes Association grant 7-13-TS-31.

University of Connecticut

Related Diabetes Articles:

The role of vitamin A in diabetes
There has been no known link between diabetes and vitamin A -- until now.
Can continuous glucose monitoring improve diabetes control in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin
Two studies in the Jan. 24/31 issue of JAMA find that use of a sensor implanted under the skin that continuously monitors glucose levels resulted in improved levels in patients with type 1 diabetes who inject insulin multiple times a day, compared to conventional treatment.
Complications of type 2 diabetes affect quality of life, care can lead to diabetes burnout
T2D Lifestyle, a national survey by Health Union of more than 400 individuals experiencing type 2 diabetes (T2D), reveals that patients not only struggle with commonly understood complications, but also numerous lesser known ones that people do not associate with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes and obesity -- what do we really know?
Social and economic factors have led to a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world.
A better way to predict diabetes
An international team of researchers has discovered a simple, accurate new way to predict which women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes after delivery.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Older Americans with diabetes living longer without disability, US study shows
Older Americans with diabetes born in the 1940s are living longer and with less disability performing day to day tasks than those born 10 years earlier, according to new research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.
Reverse your diabetes -- and you can stay diabetes-free long-term
A new study from Newcastle University, UK, has shown that people who reverse their diabetes and then keep their weight down remain free of diabetes.
New cause of diabetes
Although insulin-producing cells are found in the endocrine tissue of the pancreas, a new mouse study suggests that abnormalities in the exocrine tissue could cause cell non-autonomous effects that promotes diabetes-like symptoms.
The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: Reducing sugar content in sugar-sweetened drinks by 40 percent over 5 years could prevent 1.5 million cases of overweight and obesity in the UK and 300,000 cases of diabetes
A new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal suggests that reducing sugar content in sugar sweetened drinks (including fruit juices) in the UK by 40 percent over five years, without replacing them with any artificial sweeteners, could prevent 500,000 cases of overweight and 1 million cases of obesity, in turn preventing around 300,000 cases of type 2 diabetes, over two decades.
Breastfeeding lowers risk of type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes
Women with gestational diabetes who consistently and continuously breastfeed from the time of giving birth are half as likely to develop type 2 diabetes within two years after delivery, according to a study from Kaiser Permanente published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Related Diabetes Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...