How can diet cause endocrine system disorders?

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Dr. Jack Merendino, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
There are two major situations where diet can have an influence over endocrine disease. By far the most important is type 2 diabetes. In many cases, type 2 diabetes is related to obesity, and consuming an appropriate number of calories, as well as cutting the amount of highly-refined carbohydrates in one’s diet will reduce the risk of diabetes. The second common situation relates to iodine intake and the risk of thyroid disease, though in the United States, Canada and most of Western Europe the iodine intake tends to be about right, and attempts to alter the amount of iodine one consumes, especially by taking supplements, often causes more harm than good. In parts of Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and some areas of the developing world, iodine intake may be low enough to cause problems. In Japan, where kelp in sushi and other dishes results in a very high iodine intake, there is also an increased risk of thyroid disorders.
Obesity is a risk factor for some endocrine system diseases, like type II diabetes. In type II diabetes, the pancreas, an important part of the endocrine system, keeps on making the hormone, insulin. Diabetes results as excess body fat makes the body resistant to insulin's effects, causing normal insulin levels to become insufficient and blood sugar levels to rise. Eat a healthy diet low in fat and sugar to prevent obesity and lower your risk of endocrine system diseases like type II diabetes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.