Nav: Home

Type 2 diabetes and obesity -- what do we really know?

October 06, 2016

Social and economic factors have led to a dramatic rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity around the world. In a review in Science, Mark McCarthy, professor at the University of Oxford, UK, and Paul Franks, professor at Lund University, Sweden, examine the knowledge of the actual causes and the interplay between genetics and lifestyle factors.

By studying how our genes express themselves in response to environmental factors and changes in lifestyle, we will better understand how health recommendations and treatments can be tailored to each individual.

"Environmental factors that disturb cellular and physiological processes and have an effect on the individual's predisposition to diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, are likely to do so through active, and reactive, modulation of genome function. There is a compelling rationale behind this concept, but the details about how these processes work remain poorly defined", says Paul Franks.

"However, there is emerging evidence that epigenomic changes such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, which affect the ways in which genes are transcribed and translated into proteins, are important features of these processes", he continues.

Previous research has largely focused on dietary components and which diet would be best to lower the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, but so far there is no clear evidence from epidemiological or clinical trial data that a specific diet is optimal for long-term weight-loss or lowering the risk of diabetes. Some types of dietary fat may be harmful while others may in fact be protective. The researchers also concluded that the widely established view that vitamin D supplementation lowers blood sugar levels and the risk of type 2 diabetes is unlikely to be accurate.

In recent years, there has been an explosion of interest in the role of the gut microbiome in the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

"Several studies have detected differences in the composition of the gut microbiome between healthy people and those with obesity and type 2 diabetes, but the cause and effect remain unclear", says Mark McCarthy, and continues:

"In addition, both high and low birth weight have been linked to type 2 diabetes later in life. It seems as if these associations reflect the complex interplay of genetic variation in both the foetus and the mother, along with the impact of the intrauterine environment."

The major challenge is getting closer to a mechanistic understanding of why type 2 diabetes and obesity occur and why they have become so much more common in the last 40-50 years.

"We have only a superficial understanding of that. It often gets blamed on our western lifestyle but the specific components of modern life that are most damaging remain unclear. We also know that this occurs on the background of hundreds of genetic differences that influence predisposition. The genetic findings are increasingly allowing us to understand the mechanisms involved, and to start to connect the genetic and environmental contributions", says Mark McCarthy.

Facts/Type 2 diabetes

The rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes and obesity constitute major threats to human health around the world. About ten per cent of the global population already have type 2 diabetes, or are likely to develop it, and 40 per cent of adults are overweight or obese. The heritability for obesity and type 2 diabetes is 70 and 35 per cent respectively. The western lifestyle represents a culprit with a combination of excess calories, physical inactivity, sleep deprivation, endocrine disorders and smoking. More research is needed to figure out which of the elements of our lifestyle are important to define more effective interventions.

Mark McCarthy, University of Oxford, UK, or +44 (0)7825 344066
Paul Franks, Lund University, Sweden, or +46 (0)7030 45755

Lund University

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:

Bright Spots & Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me
by Adam Brown (Author), Kelly L. Close (Foreword)

Adam Brown’s acclaimed diaTribe column, Adam’s Corner, has brought life-transforming diabetes tips to over 1 million people since 2013. In this highly actionable guide, he shares the food, mindset, exercise, and sleep strategies that have had the biggest positive impact on his diabetes – and hopefully yours too! Bright Spots & Landmines is filled with hundreds of effective diabetes tips, questions, and shortcuts, including what to eat to minimize blood sugar swings; helpful strategies to feel less stressed, guilty, and burned out; and simple ways to improve exercise and... View Details

The End of Diabetes: The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Diabetes
by Dr. Joel Fuhrman (Author)

The New York Times bestselling author of Eat to Live and Super Immunity and one of the country’s leading experts on preventive medicine offers a scientifically proven, practical program to prevent and reverse diabetes—without drugs.

At last, a breakthrough program to combat the rising diabetes epidemic and help millions of diabetics, as well as those suffering with high blood pressure and heart disease. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. Research director of the Nutritional Research Foundation, shows you how to live a long, healthy, and happy life—disease free. He... View Details

Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes Without Drugs
by Neal Barnard M.D. (Author)

Tackle diabetes and its complications for good with this newly updated edition of Dr. Neal Barnard's groundbreaking program.

Revised and updated, this latest edition of Dr. Barnard’s groundbreaking book features a new preface, updates to diagnostic and monitoring standards, recent research studies, and fresh success stories of people who have eliminated their diabetes by following this life-changing plan.

Before Dr. Barnard’s scientific breakthrough, most health professionals believed that once you developed diabetes, you were stuck with it―and could anticipate one... View Details

Diabetes For Dummies
by Alan L. Rubin (Author)

The straight facts on treating diabetes successfully

With diabetes now considered pandemic throughout the world, there have been enormous advances in the field. Now significantly revised and updated, this new edition of Diabetes For Dummies includes the latest information on diabetes medications and monitoring equipment, new findings about treating diabetes in the young and elderly, new ways to diagnose and treat long- and short-term complications, updated nutritional guidelines, new tools for measuring blood sugar and delivering insulin to the body, and much more.

There's... View Details

Choose Your Foods: Food Lists for Diabetes
by American Diabetes Association (Author)

The standard for diabetes meal planning for over 60 years, this edition features updated carbohydrate, protein, and fat information for a wide variety of foods and beverages and replaces exchange terminology with choices. Includes tips on exercise, reading food labels, and a glossary of diabetes related terms. View Details

Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars
by Richard K. Bernstein (Author)

9780316182690 Features: -Title: Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution. -Sub title: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars. -ISBN: 0316182699. -ISBN 13: 9780316182690. -General subject: Health and fitness. -Subject: Health and fitness / diseases / diabetes. Subject: -Health & Fitness. Country of Manufacture: -United States. Age Group: -Adults. Dimensions: Overall Height - Top to Bottom: -1.75". Overall Width - Side to Side: -9.75". Overall Depth - Front to Back: -6.5". Overall Product Weight: -1.8 lbs. View Details

The Official Pocket Guide to Diabetic Food Choices
by American Diabetes Association ADA (Author)

Completely updated to match the newest edition of Choose Your Foods: Food Lists for Diabetes Meal Planning, this pocket-sized guide is now better and more complete than ever.

Every day and at every meal, millions of people use the food list system to plan meals, make healthier choices, and better estimate portions. This proven system is the most popular approach to diabetes meal planning and has been used by dietitians, diabetes educators, and millions of people with diabetes for more than 70 years. This portable version of the Food Lists takes all of the information from... View Details

Diabetic Living Diabetes Meals by the Plate: 90 Low-Carb Meals to Mix & Match
by Diabetic Living Editors (Author)

An easy, graphic guide to planning delicious, diabetes-friendly meals This innovative, graphic cookbook offers the easiest and most flavorful way to build complete meals that are diabetes-friendly and delicious. Sidestepping complex programs that turn meal-planning into work, the 90 complete meals in Diabetes Meals by the Plate follow the Plate Method—a simple approach to eating the right foods in proper amounts by filling your plate with one half nonstarchy vegetables, one quarter protein, and one quarter starch. A clever photo style showing every meal in its three... View Details

The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (The Complete First Year)
by Gretchen Becker (Author), Allison B. Goldfine (Author)

The go-to step-by-step guide that walks you through the first days, weeks, and months of your diagnosis–fully revised and updated

Gretchen Becker was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1996; over the past twenty years, she has educated herself on every aspect of the condition by reading medical texts and journals, talking with doctors, and corresponding with others who have type 2, sharing everything she's learned in a comprehensive, easy-to-use guide. Now in its third edition, The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes takes you through everything you need to learn and do in your... View Details

Mayo Clinic The Essential Diabetes Book
by Mayo Clinic (Author)

More people than ever before have diabetes. The disease affects an estimated 21 million adults and children in the US and many people with the disease don't have it under control. Unlike years ago, you have a good chance of living an active and healthy life with diabetes - provided you work with your health-care team to take the necessary steps to control your blood sugar. This title covers: the pre-diabetes stage — taking charge to prevent diabetes; types of diabetes; symptoms and risk factors; treatments and strategies for managing your blood sugar; avoiding serious complications;... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Consequences Of Racism
What does it mean to be judged before you walk through the door? What are the consequences? This week, TED speakers delve into the ways racism impacts our lives, from education, to health, to safety. Guests include poet and writer Clint Smith, writer and activist Miriam Zoila Pérez, educator Dena Simmons, and former prosecutor Adam Foss.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#466 Wildfire
This week we're talking about fire: in particular, wildfires. How they spread and how we manage them, but also the deeper history of wildfires on our planet and how they've been shaping our world for a long, long time. We speak with Andrew Scott, Emeritus Professor of Geology at Royal Holloway, University of London, about his book "Burning Planet: The Story of Fire Through Time", learning about wildfire on our planet now and in deep history. And we catch up with Caroline Weinberg, interm executive director of the March for Science organization, about this year's march on April 14.