Weight cycling may increase your diabetes risk

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Scientists from Vanderbilt University found weight cycling may increase diabetes risk.

The research is published in Nature Communications and was conducted by Alyssa Hasty et al.

Weight loss is hard to maintain, and many individuals regain lost weight within a few years.

Unfortunately, weight cycling—the process of losing and then regaining weight—is a greater diabetes risk than obesity itself.

Adipose immune cells contribute to obesity-related disease risk, but less is understood about the role of adipose immune cells in weight cycling.

In the study, the team used single-cell sequencing, which provides high-resolution information about cellular differences and an improved understanding of an individual cell’s function given its specific microenvironment.

They used mice undergoing weight loss and regain to understand how weight cycling worsens diabetes risk.

We found that while weight loss improves blood glucose and reduces diabetes risk, immune cells in the fat remain inflammatory, as they are in obesity, and do not return to their lean state.

They believe that the adipose immune cells may “remember” obesity and contribute to the increased diabetes risk observed upon weight regain.

The mouse model mimics human data in that weight cycling increases diabetes risk compared with stable weight obesity.

In the short term, the researchers hope to identify specific cell populations that drive the risk increase.

They hope that in the long term this will be translated to human research, providing a mechanism to identify and treat individuals who experience obesity and weight-cycling.

The team says if researchers can target adipose immune cells, they may be able to reduce diabetes risk following weight regain.

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