New research suggests that excess belly
fat, combined with high stress levels, could boost the risk of type 2
diabetes in black women — a group already disproportionately affected
by the disease.

Researchers determined the amount of fat in the abdomen of 62
healthy, nondiabetic African-American women and had them take an
emotional stress test. As the women recalled stressful life events, the
researchers measured their blood sugar and levels of epinephrine, a
hormone released in reaction to stress.

Women with both a high amount belly fat and high epinephrine levels
also had high blood sugar during the stress test and while fasting.
However, women with a low amount of belly fat and high stress, as well
as women with a lot of belly fat and low stress, did not have high
blood sugar.

This indicates that stress and obesity interact to raise blood
sugar. Most likely, epinephrine stimulates the breakdown of fat, which
leads to the production of free fatty acids. Free fatty acids compete
with glucose as a fuel and raise blood sugar.

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