High Fat Foods Damage Body Cells, Contribute to Obesity and Can Lead to Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease

A recent University of Michigan Health System study highlights the dangers of a high fat diet. High-fat foods can contribute to obesity, which increases the risk for developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Free fatty acids from foods are stored in body fat and are also linked to the onset and progression of inflammation and disease.

Researchers discovered that a key protein called Bcl10 reacts with free fatty acids causing a host of health concerns. Bcl10 is a normally beneficial protein in the body that is characterized by pro-apoptotic activity, meaning that it has the ability to initiate cell death for damaged and mutated cells. The cleansing effects of Bcl10 help to prevent or slow the progression of disease and illness and indirectly stop DNA mutations. BCL10 is also shown to have tumor suppressing and anti-carcinogenic properties.

However, there are times when this healthful protein can do more harm than good on the body’s cells. When a person consumes foods that are high in fat, blood sugar levels are increased. Our body’s natural reaction is to secrete insulin from the pancreas to mediate this spike in blood sugar and maintain homeostasis. Recent research has discovered that Bcl10 protein, when reacting with free fatty acids found in high fat foods and stored in body fat, can actually impair insulin function leading to insulin resistance and high blood sugar. Even a few days on a high fat diet can cause insulin resistance as well as cellular inflammation at membrane lipid damage.  Free fatty acids are also damaging to the liver as they undergo metabolism to produce diacylglycerols, which activate NFkB signaling that has been previously linked with cancer, autoimmune, inflammatory, metabolic and vascular diseases.

Cellular inflammation and insulin resistance cause the degradation of cellular and mitochondrial membrane lipids. When this degradation occurs, the lipids are no longer able to maintain the structure and function of the cell, inhibiting the productions and transfer of ATP, cellular energy. As the number of damaged lipids in a cell or mitochondrial membrane increases, the cell is susceptible to mutations and death. In a healthy body system, Bcl10 protein would be able to cleanse the body of these damaged cells to prevent them from affecting healthy cells. Unfortunately, when the body is laden with a high fat content, Bcl10 is unable to function as intended and can actually cause additional damage to the cells.

Overnutrition is a form of malnutrition in which a person consumes too much food; in this case we are referring to foods of high fat and caloric numbers that often contribute to obesity. Obesity is a growing concern; as millions of Americans become overweight and obese, the number of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes sufferers is on the rise. Obesity has also been shown to contribute to cardiovascular disease Insulin resistance is an indicator of diabetes; recent studies have shown that a state of insulin resistance can be created in a few days on a high-fat diet.

“The study also underscores how very short-term changes in diet such as high-fat eating for only a few days, perhaps even less, can induce a state of insulin resistance,” says senior study author Peter C. Lucas, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

In the study, Bcl10-deficient mice showed significant improvement in regulation of blood sugar.  These findings may lead to additional treatment methods for patients with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Reduce Your Risk for Developing Disease and Illness

The best thing you can do for your health is to be conscious of what you are putting in your body. A healthy diet and lifestyle is beneficial for your internal body system and can show on the outside as well. Reducing your intake of high fat foods can reduce your risk for developing a host of illness and disease, including; obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disease.