Study: Junk Food Spikes Blood Sugar Similar to Type 2 Diabetes

All of us know that there is a link between diet and diabetes. Whether your diet has sugar or not, you still run the risk of high blood sugar. Wondering how? Well, processed or junk food is the main culprit. A recent study published in the Experimental Physiology establishes a link between junk food and diabetes. The study claims that highly processed food can cause kidney damage similar to type 2 diabetes!

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A Little About the Research on Diet and Diabetes Risk

The study focused on separate animal models of diabetes and obesity and insulin resistance induced by diet. The focus was to determine the effects of a sugar- or fat-laden diet on kidney’s glucose transporters. All through the 8-week research, a diet rich in cheese, cookies, chocolate, and marshmallows was fed to rats. Then the focus of the study was shifted to finding how this diet affected blood glucose.

Researchers also tried to find a connection between this type of unhealthy diet and the kidney function of transporting blood glucose. When the effects were compared with the changes observed in type 1 and type 2 diabetes rat models, researchers found that a majority of type 2 diabetic rats reported the presence of some glucose transporters and their regulatory proteins. This was to be blamed on a high fat and junk food diet.

The study concludes that there is a well-established connection between processed junk food and diabetes. The recent increase in the rate of type 2 diabetes and obesity can be blamed on the rising consumption of processed food. Therefore, by understanding how your diet can affect blood glucose levels in the kidney, you can take steps to protect the kidneys from damage and keep yourself from various other health ailments.

Why is Junk Food Bad; Diabetes Risk

High in calories and low in nutritive value, junk food increases your risk of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and poor kidney health. The regular consumption of processed food raises your likelihood of obesity manifold. The onset of obesity exposes you to all sorts of health issues. When you have too much fat tissue around your belly, the cells can become insulin resistant. As a result, they cannot use insulin properly. When the body cannot use insulin, there is a high risk of blood sugar spike.

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The highly processed junk foods are calorie dense, with little to no nutritive value. Additionally, most fast foods are loaded with added sugar and saturated and trans fats. As a result, junk food is quickly digested, causing a spike in blood glucose and bad cholesterol.

Fast food is linked to diabetes risk because it causes blood sugar increase, as it:

  • Is nutritionally poor
  • Lacks fiber
  • Is highly calorific
  • Is high in fat, sodium, and added sugar
  • May include trans fat
  • May include certain additives, including monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • May have addictive properties

A small portion of fast food has a large number of calories. Therefore, the regular consumption of junk food puts you at a high risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and health disorders. Not only this, as the aforementioned study claims, junk food can do as much damage to your kidneys and type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Junk Food Alternatives

Studies reveal those who eat fast food more than twice a week tend to gain weight quickly and have double the insulin resistance of those who ate outside once a week.

So, you may want to make healthier replacements for junk food, whether you eat at home or outside.

  • When you crave for a salty snack, it is a good idea to munch on a handful of healthy nuts.
  • If you are craving for a healthy protein snack, you should opt for nut butter with multi-grain crackers or tacos.
  • When you crave for a sweet snack, you should go for unsweetened apple butter or a handful of grapes.
  • If you crave for a pizza, you may want to choose whole wheat crust topped with colorful veggies and Greek Yogurt.
  • Mustard is a healthier alternative to mayonnaise and ketchup.
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The Bottom Line

The dangers of fast food have been well documented. According to another research study done by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, a fast food diet raises the risk of Type 2 diabetes. It is also linked to obesity and coronary heart disease.

Now that you have found a connection between junk food and diabetes risk, besides many other health ailments, you may want to make healthier food choices. Remember, combining a diet high in junk foods with a sedentary lifestyle and bad portion control puts you at a high risk of these health problems. Your health is in your hands.

Ravneet Kaur
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Ravneet Kaur

A health aficionado herself, Ravneet has been researching and writing on emerging health and wellness issues for over a decade. With a focus on healthy living, she has been an ardent lover of nature, who believes in holistic ways of healing. Her areas of expertise include women’s health, diet and weight management, healthy living, alternative healing, and mindful parenting. She is working with non-profits to spread awareness about healthy eating habits, fitness goals, and lifestyle disorders. Ravneet also blogs at
Ravneet Kaur
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