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Junk foods impact on kidneys revealed

Wednesday 11th May 2016
The impact of junk food on the kidneys has been revealed in a new study. Image: dolgachov via iStock
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The impact that fatty foods such as cheese and chocolate can have on the kidneys has been revealed following a new study.

Doctors from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK carried out an investigation on rats to find out how junk food can cause long-term damage to the kidneys of a similar extent to the effects of type 2 diabetes.

The rats were divided into two groups and were either fed a diet featuring chocolate, cheese, biscuits and marshmallows for a period of eight weeks, or they were put on an eating plan based around high-fat rodent treats.

Scientists monitored the rats' blood glucose levels throughout the study period, alongside looking at how their diet affected the transportation of sugar in the kidney. This process is more challenging in patients with type 2 diabetes due to changes to a person's insulin resistance levels, but the researchers found similar problems in the rats who consumed large quantities of junk food.

In fact, certain glucose transporter cells were found in both the rats that were on the junk food diet and those with type 2 diabetes, suggesting a direct link.

Therefore, this suggests that people who consume a lot of junk food may be causing irreversible damage to their kidneys. Even if they are not diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they could be causing a similar level of harm to their bodies.

Researchers are hoping that the findings of the investigation will lead to greater understanding of kidney problems, as well as potentially resulting in the development of new treatments for people with type 2 diabetes.

Lead author of the study Dr Havovi Chichger explained: "A new treatment for diabetic patients constitutes blocking the glucose transporter in the kidney to reduce blood glucose levels.

"Understanding how diet can affect sugar handling in the kidneys and whether the inhibitors can reverse these changes could help to protect the kidneys from further damage."

Written by Martin Lambert

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