Statistical correlation is used to link anything to anything - food, chemicals, air quality, cell phones, they can all be implicated in some human disease if there are enough rows and columns and a scholar with an agenda. And if you don't try to find some new thing to link to poor health outcomes, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) under Dr. Linda Birnbaum is not going to give you funding, so it creates selection bias. With mouse studies, though they are only exploratory just like epidemiology, provocative claims are made because the science community knows most science journalists believe mice are little people, and not a separate species that can never prove a benefit or harm in humans, but only disqualify effects.
An exploratory mouse study to help with what remains a "dubious diagnosis"
A new study manages to appeal to both communities. A mouse model with a slight biological change reverses "prediabetes", the authors note. A disease that does not exist. It's instead a precondition that no diabetes body in the world outside America accepts, based on a 5.7 percent average blood sugar level (HbA1C) so low that only 5 percent of people having it will ever progress to actual diabetes...in their entire lifetimes. It has no clinical relevance. It's a number so arbitrarily low that China would have 500,000,000 new people on medication to prevent it if they adopted America's penchant for exaggeration. And nearly one-third of the United States would now think they have a medical condition.
Anyone who watches television advertising can quickly learn why America is the most over-medicated country in the world: we are also the most scientific. And the promise of science can lead to lazy wishful thinking about easy solutions. That's exactly what will happen if our Centers for Disease Control, who have turned over an irrational amount of government authority to the American Diabetes Association, get traction with this in the public. Overweight people are not going to hear the term "prediabetes" and start exercising, they wouldn't have an issue if they exercised, they will demand medication for their medical condition.
Type 2 diabetes is for the most part a lifestyle disease; the overwhelming majority literally have to overeat to such an extent our bodies can't produce enough insulin to process it all. Giving 86 million Americans - that is how many people will have an A1C level that can be called "prediabetes" in America (though nowhere else) - would add hundreds of billions in medical costs in a country that is already on medication for too many things while suffering under the burden of 500 percent health insurance premiums this decade.
It's the calories
In the study, scientists gave mice a diet laden with fat until they got the mouse form of prediabetes - which means they fed them far too many calories in the form of cookie dough mixed with sugar at 6X normal diets. Then, by using genetic engineering to deactivate the dihydroceramide desaturase 1 (DES1) enzyme, they shifted two hydrogens from the fatty lipid ceramide and the mice became less "prediabetic." Perhaps the target for this is a supplement, since ceramides are big buzzwords in the skin moisturizer community.
Ceramides protect our cells against high fat intake but instead of modifying those (with unclear side effects should this ever get to actual trials) it makes more sense for people to just eat normal diets.