Fats and diabetes

Fats in the body have an important role in diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the health risk for people who are already diabetic, and it is a significant risk for developing diabetes in later life. We say more about this later. The breakdown of fats in the body as an alternative source of fuel to glucose is more likely to occur in people with diabetes, because their cells cannot take up glucose easily when insulin levels are low. When fats are broken down to be used as fuel, one of the side-effects is the production of small molecules called ketones. They can build up to dangerously high levels in a person with diabetes, making the blood too acid (the condition is called ketoacidosis), and the person's breath has a distinctive 'fruity' smell.

Ketoacidosis is pronounced 'kee-toh-assid-oh-siss'.

Last modified: Monday, 23 June 2014, 4:11 PM