Rapidly Digested Carbohydrates May Promote Development of Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Wenjie Ma MS Doctoral Student
Harvard School of Public Health

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: De novo lipogenesis (DNL) is the process whereby excess carbohydrate and protein are converted into saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Emerging animal and in vitro evidence suggests that DNL might play an important role in metabolic regulation and influence the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. We used circulating biomarkers SFAs and MUFAs to investigate the prospective associations with incident diabetes in the Cardiovascular Health Study, a community-based cohort of older US adults. We found that circulating palmitic acid and stearic acid were associated with higher risk of incident diabetes, whereas vaccenic acid was associated with lower risk. In contrast, dietary intakes of saturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids were not associated with diabetes risk.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Our findings, together with the likely harms of rapidly digested dietary carbohydrate on the development of diabetes, provide support for reducing the consumption of rapidly digested carbohydrate to prevent diabetes. The discordant results for circulating concentrations and dietary intakes facilitate the inference on the potentially different effects of metabolic compared with dietary exposure to the fatty acids in the DNL pathway.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our study highlights the need to further investigate the biological mechanisms that may link these specific fatty acids in the DNL pathway to the pathogenesis of diabetes.


Prospective association of fatty acids in the de novo lipogenesis pathway with risk of type 2 diabetes: the Cardiovascular Health Study
Wenjie Ma,et al

Am J Clin Nutr 2015 ajcn.092601; First published online November 12, 2014. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.092601


Last Updated on November 23, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD