ekotracks Pharmaceutical Rates of type 1 diabetes linked to difficulties of perceiving foods

Rates of type 1 diabetes linked to difficulties of perceiving foods

A new study of adults in Sweden who self-reported difficulties in finding foods has linked this association with a greater amount of type 1 diabetes, but just in adults in general. The study of more than 800 adults — the largest ever study of its scale — is published in the journal PNAS.

Prior to 2012, type 1 diabetes had gone undiagnosed in Sweden for almost 10 years. In 2012, more than 7 percent of these newly diagnosed people reported having “obsessions of food ‘unavailable’: eating too little of the desired food, or too much of another’s and not being able to keep it for longer, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Simon Diesberg, of the Karolinska Institute for Smidt University in Sweden.

Difficulty in choosing and finding a suitable food was also found to be associated with severity of type 1 diabetes, and with acute type 1 diabetes, not chronic type 1. At 6.5 percent, the percentage of people reporting “obsessions of food ‘unavailable'” was 1.4 times higher than the rate in person-years with type 1, he added.

The research also adds insult to injury by reducing the numbers of new type 1 diabetes in Sweden. That is, the proportion of new type 1 cases diagnosed has been cut in half to 1.2 percent from 1.7 percent during the same time period during which 10 percent of degenerative diabetes cases were diagnosed.

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Food-seeking behavior in the study varied, and it may be that people became more selective among fruits and vegetables after they tried something stronger, like the avocados and oranges found in most supermarkets in Sweden. But finding and choosing the food was the same in all cases.

The authors said that the discrepancy, with researchers concluding that “general food-seeking behavior is the major affective factor for type 1 diabetes,” added weight to the study’s findings.

Svenska Bäckman, knutti health historian and senior author of the study, summed up the important message of how Swedish research and practice differ from the world of most developed countries: “We have to investigate food-seeking behavior and find the best foods for people having difficulty with their taste, food desire or appetite.”

“As far as we know,” she noted, though that’s not a new research question.

Previous studies looked at the start and end of disease in children, and to a lesser extent from adolescence to adulthood, and the researchers hope the new study will help fudge expectations about disease risk and let food-seekers know exactly what foods should be preferred, demonstrated best, or consumed, they said.