Sugar induces diabetes by derailing metabolism
Diabetes could be caused by a chemical in sugar – turning the condition on its head, according to new research.
If true, scientists say high blood glucose levels would be an affect – rather than the cause – of the disease.
Experiments on flies found found large amounts of the metabolite MG (methylglyoxal) led to the typical diabetic disturbances of the metabolism.
This led to insulin resistance, obesity and elevated blood sugar levels.
Dr. Aurelio Teleman, of the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, said: “It appears to be sufficient to increase the MG level to trigger insulin resistance and typical diabetic metabolic disturbances.
“This is clear evidence that MG is not the consequence but rather the cause of type 2 diabetes.”
The findings, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, also raises the question about what might cause an elevated MG level.
For example, obese people who are not diabetic also display elevated MG levels.
Co-author Dr Peter Nawroth said: “Why this is so, we don’t know. This is an important aspect of our future research.”
The compound is found in high concentrations in Manuka honey – up to 100 times greater than ordinary honey – and is thought to give it its antiseptic edge
Insulin resistance and elevated blood glucose levels are considered to be the cause of type 2 diabetes – the form caused by obesity.