A new study published this week has found that junk food can cause the same damage to the kidneys as Type 2 diabetes.
Patients with Type 2 diabetes either don't produce enough insulin, or their body doesn't react to it, which can cause a build-up of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
If this occurs the build-up can then have serious and long-term effects on organs, including the kidneys, which can lead to diabetic kidney disease.
However this new research has shown that a diet high in junk food or fat can also cause this potentially damaging build up of glucose in the kidneys, producing a similar effect to Type 2 diabetes.
To carry out their study UK researchers used rat models of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and rat models of obesity and insulin resistance that had both been induced by diet, to look at how insulin resistance and too much sugar or fat in the diet could affect glucose transporters in the kidneys.
The researchers fed the rats either a junk food diet of cheese, chocolate, biscuits and marshmallows for a period of eight weeks, or a diet high in fat (60 percent) of rodent chow for five weeks.
The team then tested the effect of each diet on the rat's blood sugar levels and the different glucose transporters in the kidneys, and compared the effects on the glucose transporters to those in the rat models of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The results showed that not only were higher number of certain glucose transporters found in the type 2 diabetes rat models, but a similar number was also found in the rat models that had been fed a high fat diet and junk food diet, showing that Type 2 diabetes and an unhealthy diet can both have a similar damaging effect on the kidneys.
Commenting on the results Dr Havovi Chichger, lead author of the study, explained, "The Western diet contains more and more processed junk food and fat, and there is a well-established link between excessive consumption of this type of food and recent increases in the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes. In our study, type 1 and type 2 diabetes both induce changes in glucose transport in the kidney, but junk food or a diet high in fat causes changes that are very similar to those found in type 2 diabetes."
The study was published in the journal Experimental Physiology.