Most people know that sugar consumption increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. But sugar may increase type 1 diabetes risk too. Several studies have found that children consuming large amounts of refined carbohydrates and/or sugar have an increased risk of type 1 diabetes (1, 2, 3).
This new study shows that kids who consume a lot of sugar also progress faster from early signs of the disease (detectable antibodies to beta cells) to full-blown type 1 diabetes. The researchers concluded:
“Sugar intake may exacerbate the later stage of type 1 diabetes development; sugar-sweetened beverages may be especially detrimental to children with the highest genetic risk of developing type 1 diabetes.”
What does this mean? It could mean that increased consumption of sugar and other refined carbohydrates is behind the modern epidemic of type 1 diabetes, as well as the epidemic of type 2 diabetes.
Perhaps an increased intake of refined carbs/sugars, via an increased insulin production, stresses the beta cells and make them more vulnerable to the autoimmune reaction that leads to type 1 diabetes. Indeed, this was the hypothesis of the researchers:
“Dietary sugar intake may increase insulin production, stress the beta cells and increase the risk for islet autoimmunity (IA) and subsequent type 1 diabetes.”
Parents of kids with type 1 diabetes often are very resistant when discussing this possible link. They have been told, and it is a comforting idea that type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with the environment, that it is only genetics. But the data does not support this.
Something in the environment has caused a lot more people to get type 1 diabetes in the last few decades – coinciding with the epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. It could be the same thing driving both epidemics: A sick environment with too many refined carbs in the food supply.
Health-e-Solutions comment: It is most lokely a combination of environmental factors, including diet, and genetic propensity. However, the lion’s share of the cause probably lies with the environment. Our goal with #TheRomanDiet is to minimize potential dietary and other environmental factors to preserve remaining beta cell function and #ContolBloodSugarNaturally as much as possible.
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- Molly M. Lamb, Brittni Frederiksen, Jennifer A. Seifert, Miranda Kroehl, Marian Rewers, Jill M. Norris. Sugar intake is associated with progression from islet autoimmunity to type 1 diabetes: the Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young. Diabetologia. September 2015, Volume 58, Issue 9, pp 2027-2034