New Study Finds That a Poor Diet, Independently of Genetic Risk is Associated with a Higher Risk of Diabetes

The burden of type 2 diabetes is not equally distributed, as susceptibility to environmental factors varies between and within human populations. This observation has led many to presume that diet and lifestyle factors may yield different effects depending on inherited genetic susceptibility. 

In a recently published study, researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital in the US have found that genetic risk factors and diet quality are independently associated with type 2 diabetes.

Previous studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, but whether genetic profiles interact with lifestyle was unclear. 

For the study, the team analyzed data from 3 cohort studies, involving 35,759 men and women in the US, with a 902,386 person-years of follow-up. 

The team found that low diet quality and increased overall or pathway-specific genetic risk were independently associated with higher diabetes risk. They found that within any genetic risk category, high diet quality was associated with a nearly 30% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers concluded that regardless of the genetic risk of a patient, consuming a healthier diet is associated with a much lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 


Jordi Merino, et al. Polygenic scores, diet quality, and type 2 diabetes risk: An observational study among 35,759 adults from 3 US cohorts. 2022. PLOS Medicine. 

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