How Many Calories Will Give You Diabetes
Post at 17:56 - 11/04/2018

6 guys spent a week eating 6,000kcal a day. Here's what happened


The average guy eats about 2,500 calories a day. So what would happen if you ate more than double that amount for a week straight? Some seriously scary stuff, according to new research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Researchers had six otherwise healthy guys chow down on about 6,000 calories per day – which included pizza and burgers – and stay on bed rest in a hospital’s research unit for seven days. 

At the end of the week, they had gained an average of 8 pounds. Not surprising. 
But here’s where the results become alarming: after just two days, all of the men developed insulin resistance – when your cells are unable to take glucose from your blood and use it for energy – which is a precursor to diabetes. 

Urine samples also showed markers of oxidative stress – a condition where the body is overloaded with free radicals, types of molecules that can damage cells and cause inflammation.

That’s because overeating is tough on your body. Your cells pump out more harmful oxidative by-products as they work harder to process all that extra fuel, explains study co-author Dr Salim Merali.


Those by-products damage a protein called GLUT4, which is responsible for helping your cells soak up glucose from your blood. When the protein loses its ability to clear glucose out, you develop insulin resistance, he says.

Of course, a few days of stuffing your face isn’t enough to actually develop diabetes. And the researchers believe that the subjects’ blood sugar problems would go away once they went back to their normal diet and exercise routine. 



But if they continued to overeat? Well, that’s another story. The researchers don’t know for sure how much someone must overeat or for how long in order to become diabetic, but the risk increases the longer you do it, says Merali. 

And you don’t need to consume a whopping 6,000 calories a day to run into problems. 

“Consistently averaging even just 10% of calories or more than you need qualifies as overeating,” says sports dietician Marie Spano, M.S, R.D. 

If you’re eating 2,500 calories a day, that’s only an extra 250 calories – or roughly the amount in a small serving of fries. It doesn’t have to be just junk food, either. 

Eating extra calories of anything will make you gain weight, Spano says. And that extra fat can ultimately lead to insulin resistance. 


One caveat: if you’re trying to gain serious size, in the form of muscle, you will need to actually consume more calories than you expend. But by combining those extra calories with resistance training, the idea is that most of the new tissue you add will be muscle. And well-trained muscle helps you avoid insulin resistance. 

So context definitely matters. But you can be sure that the combination of overeating and not exercising is a lifestyle approach that puts you at high risk for diabetes – even if you’re not eating 6,000 calories a day.

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