Love to eat high-carbohydrate diets, including pasta, breads, cookies, and sugar-sweetened beverages, but worried about their health effects? People naturally endowed with an alteration in their DNA could likely be at a distinct advantage over those who do not.
Researchers, from the Harvard University in the US, have identified a gene mutation -- SGLT-1, or sodium glucose co-transporter-1 -- that likely lowers the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart failure, and even death, in people who consume such high-carbohydrate diets.
This is because mutation in SGLT-1 gene slows the metabolism of sugar in the gut.
"The study helps clarify the link between what we eat, what we absorb, and our risk for disease. Knowing this opens the door to improved therapies for cardiometabolic disease," said Scott D. Solomon, Professor of medicine at Harvard's Medical School.
Individuals with this mutation were found to have lower incidence of Type-2 diabetes, were less obese, had a lower incidence of heart failure, and had a lower mortality rate when compared to those without the mutation, even after adjusting for dietary intake (including total calories, sodium, and sugars).
The finding could provide the basis for drug therapies that could mimic the workings of this gene mutation, offering a potential benefit for the millions of people who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, the researchers said.
For the study, published in the journal American College of Cardiology, the team conducted a study on 8,478 participants and analysed the relationship between SGLT-1 mutations and cardiometabolic disease using genetic data.
They found that about 6 per cent of the participants carried a mutation in SGLT-1 that causes limited impairment of glucose absorption.