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Prevention of 3 lakh diabetes cases possible by cutting sugar in fizzy drinks: Lancet

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Washington: A significant study revealed that by cutting sugar in sweetened drinks by 40 percent, over three lakh obesity-related Type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

An average reduction in energy intake of 38.4 kcal (calories) per day by the end of the fifth year will lead to an average body weight decrease of 1.20 kg in adults, leading to a reduction in overweight and obese adults by approximately 0.5 million and 1.0 million, respectively, researchers have found.

This would, in turn, prevent 274,000-309,000 obesity-related Type 2 diabetes over the next two decades.

If fruit juices were excluded from sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), the corresponding reduction in energy intake and body weight would be 31.0 kcal/day and 0.96 kg, respectively.

“This would result in a 0.3 million cases reduction in overweight and a 0.8 million cases reduction in obesity, which would, in turn, prevent around 221,000-250,000 diabetes cases over two decades,” the study noted.

The study, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal, was led by Professor Graham MacGregor, who chairs the Action for Sugar group.

The impact was greater in adolescents, young adults and individuals from low-income families who consume more sugary drinks.

According to the authors, the strategy, if adopted would lead to an extensive reduction in energy intake from sugar-sweetened beverages and could, therefore, lower the predominance of overweight, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes in the long term.

“The findings provide strong support for the implementation of the proposed strategy,” they added.

They conclude that “individuals should also reduce their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the long term, but this can be difficult because of the advertising power of industry”.

“Our proposed strategy provides an innovative and practical way to gradually reduce energy intake from sugar-sweetened beverages and its combination with other strategies, including a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, would produce a more powerful effect,” they noted.

Dr Tim Lobstein, director of Policy, World Obesity Federation London wrote in a linked comment piece that the study has proved to be extremely essential to policymakers. (IANS)

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Novel Hope for Stem Cell Approach to Treat Diabetes

'Another idea would be to use gene-editing tools to alter the genes of beta cells in ways that would allow them to 'hide' from the immune system after implantation.'

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Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

The researchers, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said that when they transplanted the beta cells into mice that could not make insulin, the new cells began secreting insulin within a few days, and they continued to control blood sugar in the animals for months.

‘We’ve been able to overcome a major weakness in the way these cells previously had been developed. The new insulin-producing cells react more quickly and appropriately when they encounter glucose,’ said lead author Jeffrey R. Millman, PhD, Assistant Professor.

‘The cells behave much more like beta cells in people who don’t have diabetes,’ he said.

For the study, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, the team grew beta cells from human stem cells, but they made numerous changes to the ‘recipe’ for producing insulin-producing beta cells, treating the cells with different factors at different times as they grew and developed to help the cells mature and function more effectively.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

After that process was complete, the researchers transplanted the beta cells into diabetic mice with suppressed immune systems so that they wouldn’t reject the human cells.

Those transplanted cells produced insulin at levels that effectively controlled blood sugar in the mice, functionally curing their diabetes for several months, which, for most of the mice in the study, was about the length of their lives.

The researcher said he can’t predict exactly when such cells may be ready for human trials but believes there are at least two ways that stem cell-derived beta cells could be tested in human patients.

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‘The first would be to encapsulate the cells in something like a gel — with pores small enough to prevent immune cells from getting in but large enough to allow insulin to get out,’ he said.

‘Another idea would be to use gene-editing tools to alter the genes of beta cells in ways that would allow them to ‘hide’ from the immune system after implantation.’ (IANS)