Half of Americans have gene that affects how body burns sugar

Jan 26, 2007

A recent study by a Saint Louis University researcher confirms findings that about half of the U.S. population has a version of a gene that causes them to metabolize food differently, putting them at greater risk of developing diabetes.

Edward Weiss, Ph.D., assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Doisy College of Health Sciences at Saint Louis University, looked at a relatively common version of a gene called FABP2, which is involved in the absorption of fat from food.

Those people with the variant gene processed fat differently than those who don't have it. They burned more fat, which may have hindered their ability to remove sugar from the blood stream and burn it. Diabetes is characterized by too much sugar in the blood.

"This study adds to what was previously known about this gene variant by showing that after consuming a very rich milkshake, people with the variant gene process the fat from the drink differently than other people," Weiss says.

That is not to say that half of U.S. residents are destined to get diabetes, he adds.

"While the variation of the gene appears to contribute to the diabetes risk, it does not cause diabetes by itself," Weiss says.

"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."

Source: Saint Louis University

Explore further: Researchers take 'first baby step' toward anti-aging drug

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists find key to vitamin A metabolism

Dec 10, 2014

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have uncovered the mechanism that enables the enzyme Lecithin: retinol acyltransferase (LRAT) to store vitamin A—a process that is indispensable ...

The truth about the war on wheat

Oct 03, 2014

If you believe the best-seller lists, the biggest bad in the supermarket aisles is not fat or sodium or sugar, but wheat. We have been warned that eating wheat makes our bellies fatter and triggers diseases ...

Recommended for you

Biomedical team creates 'nerve on a chip'

Dec 24, 2014

Michael J. Moore and J. Lowry Curley first met in the laboratory as professor and student. Now the two Tulane University researchers have started a new biomedical company that's winning praise and awards.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.