Diabetes Linked to How the Body Stores Fat
A recent study shows that the way excess fat cells are stored in the body affects type 2 diabetes risk. According to the study, which was conducted by researchers at Cambridge University and published in Nature Genetics, people with the genetic inability to store fat safely—for example, under the skin in the lower half of the body—are more likely to develop insulin resistance and diabetes.
The hormone insulin controls blood sugar levels. Insulin resistance causes blood sugar levels and lipid levels to rise, increasing the risk for diabetes and heart disease. This new study may help explain why some people who are overweight develop insulin resistance and others do not, and why some people who are average weight are also at risk.
Worldwide, 43 percent of people who develop type 2 diabetes are obese, 43 percent are overweight, and 14 percent are at a healthy weight. Researchers identified 53 different gene variants that result in fat storage in and around the body’s central organs, blood stream, and muscles. People with the highest number of these gene variants had a 39 percent higher diabetes risk than those with the lowest genetic risk—regardless of their weight or body mass index (BMI).
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