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Ragini Chaudhari

Constantly curious about every article I read, or every fact I heard, I have conducted several individual research papers exploring these notions. Currently, an ongoing discussion in Japan regarding the dumping of the Fukushima reactor water is the headline of every credible news source. This controversy is caused by the significant amounts of carbon-14 (a radioactive carbon isotope), and tritium. I am currently looking into delving deeper into the impacts of such chemicals on the human body.





A Summary of the Reseach Paper (Header image is Figure 1)

RQ: The relationship between the consumption of carbohydrates and Type 2 diabetes?

Carbohydrates are “monosaccharide monomers that are linked together by condensation reactions to form disaccharides and polysaccharide polymers”. (Allott, 2014). They are composed of Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Hydrogen, Hydrogen and Oxygen having a 2 to 1 ratio. An example of a carbohydrate is glucose, a monosaccharide, C6H12O6. Another example is Sucrose, a disaccharide C12H22O11, which is made by linking glucose and fructose molecules through a condensation reaction. The two main forms of carbohydrates are sugar and starch. Starch is a polysaccharide consisting of many glucose molecules joined by a glycosidic bond. Sugar is a soluble carbohydrate that can be both monosaccharides and disaccharides. 

Carbohydrates provide energy in your body. The body breaks down and converts most carbohydrates into glucose. Once you masticate your food, the chyme is ejected into the upper part of the small intestine. As it enters the small intestine, the pancreas releases pancreatic juice, which contains an enzyme called pancreatic amylase. This enzyme breaks down dextrins (produced during the hydrolysis of starch and glycogen), into shorter chains. Additional enzymes are secreted breaking disaccharides such as Lactase into galactose and glucose. These sugars are absorbed into the small intestine. Once they are absorbed, they are processed even more by the liver and stored as glycogen. The glucose is moved through the body by the bloodstream (Katherine Marengo, 2019). Blood glucose is a sugar that is carried through the bloodstream to other cells in order to supply energy. “When sugar enters your cells, it is either used as fuel for energy right away or stored for later use” (American Diabetes Association). After you eat, your blood glucose rises. This cues beta cells to release insulin in your body. The insulin ‘unlocks’ muscles, fats and the liver so that glucose can enter, providing energy to the body. Once the body has used the energy needed, the remaining glucose is stored as glycogen which is located in the liver and muscles. After not eating for a few hours, the blood glucose level drops, and your pancreas stops churning out insulin. It results in the breakdown of stored glycogen into glucose. 

Type 2 diabetes develops most frequently in middle-aged people. It is when the body is unable to use insulin effectively, simply becoming resistant to insulin, leading to the pancreas not being able to produce enough insulin. Factors that contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes include the environment, genetics and the lifestyle of the patient. For example, being overweight and inactive make you more diabetes-prone since moderate physical activity helps manage weight, reduce blood glucose levels and improve blood pressure and cholesterol. 

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the cells are insensitive to insulin as they should. This happens when the cells become insensitive to insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood, and the blood sugar gradually gets too high. The pancreas creates a surplus of insulin in order to transport glucose into the cells. Eventually, the pancreas gets damaged and can’t produce a sufficient amount of insulin. At first, your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get glucose into your cells, however, at some point it won’t be able to keep up and glucose builds up in your blood instead. Type 2 diabetes can cause other health problems. For example, Kidney disease. “Your kidneys may have to work harder to filter out the extra sugar, along with all the other waste products in your blood” (WedMd, 2020). Another example is Retinopathy. High sugar levels in the blood over a long period of time cause diabetic retinopathy. The excess sugar in the bloodstream damages the blood vessels that supply the retina with blood. One of the leading causes of Type 2 diabetes is the overconsumption of foods and drinks with carbohydrates.

A study was conducted in order to determine the effects that a low-carbohydrate diet has on Type 2 Diabetes. “According to the Danish Healthy Authority, up to 85% of newly diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes are overweight” (University of Copenhagen, 2019). A critical aspect when treating type 2 diabetes is the patient’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. The study was performed on 28 patients with type 2 diabetes for a duration of 12 weeks. For the first six weeks, the patients were given a conventional diabetes diet with high carbohydrate content. For the other six weeks, the patients were given a diet with lower carbohydrate content and higher protein content. This study showed that a low-carbohydrate diet improves a patient's ability to regulate blood sugar levels in comparison to a conventional diet. The study shows that this diet improved the patients' glycaemic control (the ability to regulate blood sugar). Therefore, a low carbohydrate diet has proved to be beneficial for diabetic patients. 

Looking at the data acquired, (see Figure 1), we can see that the greatest portion of the pie chart, 47%, showcased that around half of the diabetic patients who answered this survey responded to the question: "How predominant is Carbohydrates in our diet", with "Makes up the main portion of each meal". This clearly supports the hypothesis, proving that the correlation between Type 2 and the consumption of carbohydrates is significant.

Thus, through the data points acquired as well as the background knowledge, we can come to a conclusion that there is a significant correlation between Type 2 diabetes and the consumption of carbohydrates. Due to the processes  through which carbohydrates is absorbed into our body - catalyzes carbohydrates into glucose, which is then absorbed and processed by the liver to be stored as glycogen - sugar is stored for immediate and future use. Those with Type 2 diabetes become insensitive to the hormone, insulin, which consequently leads to excessive sugar in the bloodstream. On top of that, excess carbohydrate consumption can lead to obesity, which makes one more prone to Type 2 diabetes. Through such factors, a relationship is identified, possibly one that can help develop insight into the field of medicine and diabetes.


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