A diet high in acidic foods — meat, fish, and sodas, for instance — may put some women at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, researchers found.
In an analysis of data from the E3N-EPIC cohort, French women with higher scores on a measure of dietary acidity had about a 70% greater risk of developing diabetes than those whose diets were more alkaline, Guy Fagherazzi, PhD, of Gustave Roussy Institute in Villejuif in France, and colleagues reported online in Diabetologia.
Some work has suggested that Western diets rich in animal products and other acidogenic foods may create an acid load that isn’t compensated for by intake of fruits and vegetables. This can lead to chronic metabolic acidosis, which may play a role in cardiometabolic abnormalities.
Tracking the effects of acidosis
Most importantly from a blood-sugar control perspective, increasing acidosis can reduce the ability of insulin to bind at appropriate receptors in the body, and reduce insulin sensitivity. With this in mind, the scientists decided to analyse whether increased acidosis caused by dietary acid loads increased the risk of type-2 diabetes.
The 66,485 women in this study were chosen from the E3N study (the French Centre of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, a well-known ongoing epidemiological study) and followed for over 14 years. Their dietary acid load was calculated using two standard tests for assessing dietary acid consumption from foods.
During follow-up, 1,372 new cases of incident type-2 diabetes occurred. In the overall population, those with the highest acid diet had a 56% increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes compared with lowest intake of acidic foods.
Women of normal weight (BMI of 25 and under) had the highest increased risk (96% for those with the most highly acidic diet) while overweight women (BMI 25 and over) with a high acid diet had only a 28% increased risk.