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Junk Food May Harm Kidneys as Much as Type 2 Diabetes

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty

A new study published Tuesday suggests that consuming junk food may have even more negative effects than were previously thought.

The study, which was conducted by a team of researchers at Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K., indicates that an unhealthy diet might cause as much damage to the body as type 2 diabetes.

The study involved two sets of rats, one set was fed junk food (chocolate, marshmallows, cheese, and cookies) for eight weeks, and the other a high fat (60%) diet for five weeks. When these rats were compared to rats with diabetes, researchers found that they had similar types of glucose receptors and regulatory proteins as the rats with type 2 diabetes. Which, in layman's terms, means the rats had increased strain on and damage to their kidneys, similar to what a diabetic person experiences, due to working overtime to remove the excess sugar being consumed.

"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," said lead author of the study Dr. Havovi Chichger, "In our study, type 1 and type 2 diabetes both induce changes in glucose transport in the kidney, but junk food or a diet high in fat causes changes that are very similar to those found in type 2 diabetes."

While there's a lot more research needed to make a true correlation between junk food/high fat diets and kidney damage, this might make some of us think twice about what we're putting in our bodies.

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