Diabetes: Half of Americans Have Gene that Affects how Body Burns Sugar

By Laura Brooks
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A new diabetes research study reveals that about half of the U.S. population have a gene variation that causes them to metabolize food differently and puts them at a much greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Edward Weiss, Ph.D. assistant professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Doisy College of Health Sciences at Saint Louis University, looked at a version of a gene called FABP2 (fatty acid binding protein 2) which plays a role in the absorption of fat from blood and concluded that the people who have this type of gene process food in a different way than those who do not have this gene. The good news for the other half of Americans is that they possess the type of gene that reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by helping the body burn more fat and remove sugar.

Lifestyle, Other Genes Also Involved in Type 2 Diabetes

"That is not to say that half of U.S. residents are destined to get type 2 diabetes,"  says Weiss. "Many other genes, some known and some unknown, are involved in a person’s overall risk of developing diabetes. Those are things a person can’t control. But there are risk factors for diabetes that a person can change — lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise."

According to Weiss, despite the FABP2 gene and many other factors that can cause a person to develop type 2 diabetes, pursuing a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise and healthy eating will help all Americans burn fat and lower blood sugar.

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