A diet high in acid increases diabetes risk

Acidity in the diet, regardless of what food sources it comes from, can increase a person's risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the journal Diabetologia.

The research included data on more than 60,000 women and is the first large prospective study to demonstrate these findings.

Acid-inducing foods

The standard Western diet, which is rich in animal products and processed foods, can cause chronic metabolic acidosis. This reduces the ability of insulin to bind at appropriate receptors, decreasing insulin sensitivity and raising diabetes risk. Based on this idea, the research team from the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in Paris analyzed whether acidosis caused by dietary factors increased the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Women in the study were followed for new diabetes cases over the course of 14 years while researchers calculated their dietary acid load. Those who had the highest rates of dietary acid had a 56 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, women of normal weight had the highest increased risk, while overweight women had an increased risk of only 28 percent.

Reducing risk

Foods that promote alkalinity can help neutralize dietary acid, the authors said.

"Contrary to what is generally believed, most fruits such as peaches, apples, pears, bananas and even lemons and oranges actually reduce dietary acid load once the body has processed them," the team wrote.

Consumption of meat, dairy products, alcohol and coffee can all contribute to acidity. Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that a low-acid diet may be helpful for diabetics.

"We have demonstrated for the first time in a large prospective study that dietary acid load was positively associated with type 2 diabetes risk, independently of other known risk factors for diabetes," they concluded. "Our results need to be validated in other populations, and may lead to promotion of diets with a low acid load for the prevention of diabetes. Further research is required on the underlying mechanisms."

Source: EurekaAlert!

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