Fast Eater? Slow Down!

An interesting study from Japan suggests that eating fast is a risk factor for diabetes. Researchers at Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine in Aichi studied middle-aged men and women and found that the faster a person ate, the more likely he or she was to be fat (Preventive Medicine, February 2008). Furthermore, both insulin levels and blood sugar levels were higher in people who ate faster. High insulin and blood sugar levels are markers for being diabetic or at risk for developing type II diabetes.

Before insulin can do its job of driving sugar into cells, it must first attach to special hooks on the surface of cells called insulin receptors. As a person gains weight, excess fat blocks insulin receptors so they cannot drive sugar into cells. Blood sugar levels rise and the pancreas responds by putting out large amounts of insulin. Insulin makes you ever fatter by acting on your brain to make you hungry and it acts on the liver to make even more fat and on the fat cells in your belly to pick up and store that extra fat. Early diabetes is characterized first by high insulin levels, then by storing fat in the belly, rather than the hips. Eventually the pancreas exhausts itself and stops making insulin completely, and person then must take insulin. More on insulin resistance


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