Eating ultra-processed foods (like cakes and candy) can cause blood sugar levels to rise. This can eventually increase a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes.

More about ultra-processed foods and diabetes

What is ultra-processed food? This includes sodas, energy drinks, dairy desserts and milkshakes, fats and sauces, sugary products (such as candies and chocolate), and some meats. This study found that eating or drinking ultra-processed foods can increase a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes. Moreover, they found a link between ultra-processed foods and an increased risk of disease. This includes overeating, weight gain, cancer, death, depression, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and heart disease. Interestingly, even if study participants did not gain weight over the next 6-years, they still had a higher risk of developing diabetes if they ate a lot of ultra-processed foods.

Why is this? In terms of nutrition, processed foods have poorer quality. These foods also contain higher levels of salt, fat, and sugar. They are lower in fiber, and can also cause blood sugar levels to rise. In addition, the way that the food is processed (for example, the use of chemicals and preservatives for longer shelf-life) could negatively impact our guts and disrupt our hormone functions. High-temperature heating in many of these foods (such as fried foods and cakes) can lead to insulin resistance. Researchers know that these foods are designed to make us want more by lighting up the pleasure centers in our brains. This can be very dangerous in terms of health. Going forward, to prevent diabetes, these researchers hope to educate people on the dangers of eating or drinking ultra-processed foods.

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