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Type 2 diabetes: Type of fat to improve insulin resistance and reduce risk – what to eat?

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Rates of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are rising sharply worldwide. As such, urgent calls for new ways to prevent type 2 diabetes are constantly being researched with a focus on how different carbohydrates and dietary fats could impact metabolic health and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Similar to carbohydrates, fats are about the issue of both quality and quantity.

Unsaturated fats, however, have been linked to improved insulin resistance.

Experts recommend choosing sources such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, canola oil, and avocado, but being mindful of portion sizes since fats can be calorie dense.

Another added bonus of unsaturated fats is that moderate amounts at your meals also helps boost satiety reducing the urge to overeat.

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A study published in BMJ looked at the effects of eating unsaturated fats for type 2 diabetics.

The study noted: “Eating more unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids, and eating less carbohydrate and saturated fat reduces blood glucose levels and improves insulin resistance and secretion, a large meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials has shown.

“Researchers systematically searched for randomised controlled trials investigating the effects that macronutrients in the diet have on blood glucose and insulin resistance.”

The studies found that eating more unsaturated fats and less carbohydrate reduces blood glucose and insulin.

Another study published in PLOS Medicine explored how eating more unsaturated fats instead of carbohydrates helped to decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Amid urgent calls for new ways to prevent type 2 diabetes, some research has focused on how different carbohydrates and dietary fats impact metabolic health.

The meta-analysis found that by replacing carbohydrate and saturated fats with healthy fats, blood sugar levels were lowered, and insulin control was improved.

“The world faces an epidemic of insulin resistance and diabetes,” said study author Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and Fumiaki Imamura, Ph.D., at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge

“Our findings support preventing and treating these diseases by eating more fat-rich foods like walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, flaxseed, fish, and other vegetable oils and spreads, in place of refined grains, starches, sugars, and animal fats.”

Dr Mozaffarian added: “This is a positive message for the public. Don’t fear healthy fats.

Food types rich in unsaturated fats include:

  • Olive, peanut, and canola oils
  • Avocados
  • Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans
  • Seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds.

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