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How Junk Food Can Damage Your Kidneys As Much As Type 2 Diabetes

Rat study finds a 5-week "bad" diet is all it takes for serious health consequences.

Seems every month another bit of smart research craps on fast food’s head—and this month is no different. A study in Experimental Physiology has tied fast food to the type of kidney damage seen in folks with type 2 diabetes. Supersize that insurance plan!

In the study, rats were fed either high-fat rodent chow (60% of calories from fat) for 5 weeks or junk food consisting of cheese, chocolate bars, biscuits, and marshmallows for 8 weeks to see how insulin resistance and too much sugar or fat affect the kidneys.

The researchers tested the effect of these diets on blood sugar levels and glucose transporters. They then compared changes seen in their diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance to changes in rats with actual type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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Little background info: Type 2 diabetes is typically linked to obesity; in short, your body doesn't react properly to insulin, or doesn't produce enough of it, which causes a surplus to accumulate in the blood. This raises blood sugar levels, and certain types of glucose transporters and their regulatory proteins. This can have severe long-term consequences for organs, especially the kidneys. 

For type 2 diabetic rats, there was a higher number of glucose transporters (GLUT and SGLT) and regulatory proteins; this was also the case for rats fed a high-fat and junk food diet.

"The Western diet contains more and more processed junk food and fat, and there is a well-established link between excessive consumption of this type of food and recent increases in the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes," lead study author Havovi Chichger said in a press release

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