Journal round up: Diet, weight and diabetes

3 minute read

Here are four articles from the medical journals that caught our attention in the past week or so


TMR has sifted through leading medical journals over the past two weeks. Here are four of the articles that caught our attention

Western diet to blame

Processed, super-heated foods could be behind the rise in food allergies in Western societies, a newly published theory suggests.

Called the “false alarm” hypothesis, the theory proposes that our current diet, high in Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), results in a misinterpretation of a threat from dietary allergens, promoting the development of food allergy.

AGEs are formed when foods, particularly meats, are heated to a high temperature. They are also thought to play a causative role in the vascular complications of diabetes. When consumed, these compounds create immune responses within the body that then signal tissue and cell damage, which increase allergies and autoimmune conditions.

The original form of the food was not necessarily the aggravator, but cooking for prolonged periods at high temperatures altered their cellular structures and confused our bodies, research leader Professor Pete Smith said.

J Allergy Clin Immunol; online 27 July

Downside for diabetes

Some diabetes drugs may increase the risk of bile duct and gallbladder disease, research suggests.

The large population study, published in JAMA, showed that the use of GLP-1 analogues was associated with almost twice the rate of hospitalisations for cholelithiasis, cholangitis and cholecystitis than the use of at least two oral drugs.

GLP-1 inhibitors were also associated with twice the risk of cholecystectomy, a secondary analysis showed.

The same effect was not found for DPP-4 inhibitors.

According to the authors, the rapid weight loss associated with GLP-1 analogues was a logical mechanistic explanation for the increased risk of bile duct and gallbladder disease.

Weight loss led to supersaturation of cholesterol in the bile, a known risk factor for gallstones, they wrote.

JAMA Intern Med; online 1 Aug

Genes versus weight

Lifestyle interventions to reduce obesity may do little to reduce the rate of cardiovascular disease, a study of more than 4000 twins suggests.

The Swedish study of monozygous twins – who had discordant weights – found no difference in the rate of cardiovascular disease or death between the larger and the smaller twins. The findings persisted even when the heavier twin had a BMI over 30, the authors said.

In contrast, a higher BMI was associated with an increased risk of diabetes in the heavier twins.

“The present study was not able to verify that obesity is causally associated with an increased risk of MI or death after consideration of genetic factors,” the authors wrote.

JAMA Intern Med; online 1 Aug

Plant protein and longevity

The more plant protein you eat, the lower your likelihood of dying earlier than average, particularly from cardiovascular disease, a study of 131,000 US adults found.

And individuals who consumed more dietary protein from animals increased their risk of all-cause mortality, especially those who were big drinkers or obese.

The benefits of plant protein were also strongest in this group, as well as smokers, the inactive, under-65s and over-80s, according to 30-plus years analysis.

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