The standard western diet, which is rich in animal products and processed foods, can cause chronic metabolic acidosis. This reduces the ability of insulin to bind at appropriate receptors, decreasing insulin sensitivity and raising diabetes risk. Based on this idea, the research team from the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health in Paris analysed whether acidosis caused by dietary factors increased the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Women in the study were followed for new diabetes cases over the course of 14 years while researchers calculated their dietary acid load. Those who had the highest rates of dietary acid had a 56% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, women of normal weight had the highest increased risk, while overweight women had an increased risk of only 28%.
Reducing the risk
Foods that promote alkalinity can help neutralise dietary acid, the authors said. Contrary to what is generally believed, most fruits such as peaches, apples, pears, bananas and even lemons and oranges actually reduce dietary acid load once the body has processed them.
Consumption of meat, dairy products, alcohol and coffee can all contribute to acidity. Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that a low-acid diet may be helpful for diabetics.
Compiled by Dr Shahjada Selim, Endocrinologist and Diabetologist