Poor diet increases your type 2 diabetes risk regardless of your gene

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A new study has found that genetic risk factors and diet quality independently affect the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study concludes that a healthy diet can mitigate the risk of diabetes across all levels of genetic risk.

Led by Jordi Merino of Massachusetts General Hospital, US, the research included more than 35,000 US adults and was published in PLOS Medicine.

The Study: Examining Genetic and Lifestyle Factors in Diabetes Risk

Both genetic and lifestyle factors are known to contribute to type 2 diabetes risk.

While prior research has shown that a healthy lifestyle can reduce diabetes risk across all genetic profiles, the interaction between genetics and lifestyle factors remained unclear.

To explore this, the researchers analyzed data from three extensive cohort studies, tracking 35,759 U.S. health professionals for 902,386 person-years of follow-up.

Findings: Independent Associations of Genetics and Diet with Diabetes Risk

The study found that irrespective of genetic risk, poor diet quality was associated with a 30% increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The relative risk of type 2 diabetes increased by a 1.29 per standard deviation increase in the global polygenic score—a measure of genetic risk—and by a 1.13 per 10-unit decrease in the Alternate Healthy Eating Index, a measure of diet quality.

The joint impact of poor diet quality and increased genetic risk on diabetes risk was found to be similar to the sum of the risks associated with each factor independently, reinforcing their separate associations.

However, it should be noted that the findings might not necessarily generalize to other populations due to the specific nature of the cohort sampling used in this study.

Implications and Future Directions

Merino noted that the study provides evidence that the risk of type 2 diabetes due to increased genetic risk and poor diet quality is similar to the sum of the risks associated with each factor separately.

This knowledge could help inform and design future strategies for diabetes prevention, emphasizing the critical role of both genetic screening and dietary interventions in managing diabetes risk.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about new way to achieve type 2 diabetes remission, and one avocado a day keeps diabetes at bay.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about 5 dangerous signs you have diabetes-related eye disease, and results showing why pomegranate is super fruit for people with diabetes.

The study was published in PLOS Medicine.

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