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Eat Fast Food and Fight Diabetes?

April 02, 2005 | 52,305 views

Fast Food for Diabetes?

People may soon have another excuse to eat fast food: U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers have found that adding a compound called HPMC to high-fat foods may limit the damage they do to your health, including lowering your risk of diabetes.

When added to fatty foods, HPMC, a form of soluble cellulose already used in many foods and drugs to provide texture, slowed down the rate of fat absorption, which animal tests have shown could cut the risk of insulin resistance (a precursor to type 2 diabetes).

In the four-week study, hamsters were fed diets containing comparable amounts of fat to those in a typical American fast food diet, and the hamsters developed insulin resistance. Another group of hamsters were fed a similar high-fat diet that had HPMC substituted for the insoluble fiber normally in fatty foods. These hamsters showed no signs of developing insulin resistance.

HPMC appears to work by slowing down the absorption of fats, which prevents the fats from overwhelming the digestive system, and by controlling the way fat is transported to the adipose tissue, where it's typically stored.

When too many fats are eaten, they enter the body too quickly and may be moved to non-adipose tissues like the liver, heart and pancreas for storage. This can cause damage to cells; for instance pancreatic damage can lead to diabetes.

Researchers are hopeful the compound will be useful as a "functional food" ingredient that could reduce the risk of diabetes; though they say it's unlikely the compound will also prevent obesity or counteract all the negative effects of a high-fat diet.

BBC News March 16, 2005


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Yet another miracle chemical that is being touted to save us from our foolish eating habits. It seems we all want to eat our cake and not suffer the disease-causing side effects. The new miracle compound in question, HPMC, was discovered by U.S. Department of Agriculture chemists to slow down your body's absorption of fat.

When I read about this research, I was immediately reminded of Olestra, the fake fat associated with so many awful side effects:

  • Decreased absorption and blood levels of fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamin E and carotenoids

  • Significant increases in GI symptoms, including diarrhea, loose stools, and more severe GI effects

  • Increased risk of dehydration due to greater water loss through diarrhea

Fortunately, HPMC is not a dangerous drug or chemical and will be unlikely to cause any direct side effects itself. However, by causing fat malabsorption it could easily lead to important fat-soluble nutrient deficiencies.

Nonsense like this is why, when I consult with new patients, one of my primary goals is to guide them away from eating processed foods to an optimized diet based on their body's unique nutritional type. Ideally, 50 percent to 90 percent of the human diet should consist of uncooked, or raw, food.

The bottom line is, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. If you're eating so many fatty fast foods that would, under normal circumstances, put you at risk of insulin resistance and then type 2 diabetes, the answer is not to add a compound to the foods to change the way your body reacts to them. The answer is much simpler than that: Put down the junk food in favor of real foods.

If you need help making this transition, seek support from like-minded friends and family, those who also want to better their health, and use the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to break down the emotional barriers standing in your way.

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