How Western Diets Are Making The World Sick

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In a conversation on Fresh Air, [physician Kevin] Patterson tells Terry Gross that the effects of urbanization are making people everywhere in the world both fatter and sicker.”Type 2 diabetes historically didn’t exist, only 70 or 80 years ago,” says Patterson. “And what’s driven it, of course, is this rise in obesity, especially the accumulation of abdominal fat. That fat induces changes in our receptors that cells have for insulin. Basically, it makes them numb to the effect of insulin.”For a long time, the human body can compensate — the pancreas secretes even larger amounts of insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. But over time, the pancreas begins to fail to secrete enough insulin, and that is when diabetes develops.He explains that the increase in abdominal fat has driven the epidemic of diabetes over the last 40 years in the developed world — and that he’s now seeing similar patterns in undeveloped regions that have adapted Western eating patterns.

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