Eating specific foods lowers risk of type 2 diabetes even if it’s genetic

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In life, the simplest advice is often the best, especially when it comes to preventing a range of mental and physical health issues. A brisk 5km walk or a balanced diet can be the easiest ways to stave off everything from dementia to cancer and type 2 diabetes.

A study examining the diets of approximately 1600 Finnish men revealed, unsurprisingly to medical professionals, that maintaining a healthy lifestyle and adhering to certain diets can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a condition that disrupts your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels properly. Both your lifestyle and genetics can affect your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, but this extensive study identified what could be the most crucial risk factor.

Even if you have a family history of this form of diabetes, which typically develops later in life, the biggest influence on your chances of developing this often challenging-to-manage condition is simply your diet. After analysing the diets and genetics of these 1600 men, clinicians were able to pinpoint the common food items.

The foods associated with an increased likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes in the trial included fried potatoes, processed meats, baked sweets and candy, refined grains, high-fat and sweetened dairy products, as well as ready-made meals. These products are closely linked to obesity, a significant risk factor for those who develop diabetes later in life.

Scientists have pinpointed the dietary choices of individuals who managed to steer clear of type 2 diabetes, highlighting a menu rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, whole grains, unsweetened and low-fat yoghurt, and even potatoes. These foods are already well-known for their roles in a nutritious diet.

By examining participants with any of the 76 principal genetic risk factors for type 2 diabetes against those indulging in diets high in fats, carbs, and sugars, researchers deduced that diet trumps genetics when it comes to the biggest risk factor for this form of diabetes.

Regardless of genetic predisposition, adopting a wholesome diet significantly reduces the likelihood of encountering blood sugar issues. This discovery offers a glimmer of hope for parents anxious about passing on genetic risk factors to their offspring, suggesting that a lifestyle rooted in healthy eating could disrupt the hereditary pattern of the disease.

Dr Sebnem Unluisler, a distinguished genetic engineer at the London Regenerative Institute, provided insight into these findings during an interview with Medical News Today. He remarked: “This implies that if parents with a high genetic risk maintain a healthy diet and pass these habits to their children, the children could have a lower risk of developing diabetes than their parents.”

Despite the implications of the study, its scope is somewhat limited, focusing solely on 1,600 Finnish men and it might not be indicative of worldwide trends, Unluisler pointed out. He added: “However, the study might have limitations if it did not include a diverse range of ethnicities, income levels, or geographic locations, as these factors can influence dietary habits and genetic risks.”

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