by Agata Blaszczak-Boxe
New study shows that healthy fats found in vegetables and nuts may help to slow the progression of diabetes.
Replacing some of the meat and cheese in your diet with vegetable oils or nuts could help slow the progression of diabetes in some people, according to a small new study.
People with “prediabetes” have levels of blood sugar, or glucose, that are higher than normal but not high enough to warrant being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes, and 29.1 million had diabetes, with the vast majority of the cases being type 2, according to the American Diabetes Association.
In the new study, researchers found that, in people with a type of prediabetes in which muscles do not take up glucose properly, eating more of so-called polyunsaturated fat, which is found in vegetable oils and nuts, and less saturated fat, found in meat and cheese, seemed to improve certain factors related to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“The findings suggest that increasing dietary intake of polyunsaturated fats may have a beneficial effect for patients with a certain type of prediabetes,” study co-author Nicola Guess, a diabetes researcher at King’s College London, said in a statement.
In the study, the researchers looked at 14 endurance-trained athletes, 23 obese people, 10 people with prediabetes and 11 people with type 2 diabetes. The researchers tested the people’s blood sugar levels and the levels of fatty acids in their blood. The participants also filled out a questionnaire about their diet, and from this, the researchers calculated how much saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat they had consumed in the past three months.
Among the people who had a type of prediabetes in which glucose uptake into muscles is impaired, those who ate more polyunsaturated fat, and less saturated fat, had higher levels of insulin sensitivity. This would likely translate into a lower risk of developing full-blown diabetes, the researchers said. (People with low insulin sensitivity require greater amounts of insulin to keep their blood sugar levels in check, and therefore may require insulin injections.)
Among the people with a type of prediabetes in which the liver produces too much glucose, consuming less saturated fat also seemed to be beneficial for their insulin sensitivity. However, consuming more polyunsaturated fat did not seem to affect their insulin sensitivity, which means it would likely have no effect on slowing the progression of their prediabetes, the researchers said.
More research is needed to determine exactly how much polyunsaturated fat may be beneficial for patients with the type of prediabetes in which glucose uptake into muscles is impaired, the researchers said.
Previous research has suggested that getting about 12 percent of your total daily calories from polyunsaturated fat is optimal, Guess told Live Science.
The researchers noted that the new study was small and that further research with more participants is needed to confirm the results.
Related Continuing Education Courses for Dietitians and Nutritionists
Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how the body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up the muscles and tissues. It’s also the brain’s main source of fuel. Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes — when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes — and gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered. This course describes the rationale and goals for providing medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for the treatment and prevention of diabetes mellitus. Included are: recommendations for specific nutrient modifications; nutrition assessment, diagnosis, intervention, monitoring and evaluation; exercise and stress; gastropathy; enteral nutrition; testing and classifications; medications and insulin; blood glucose meters; and methods of meal planning. Nutrition education tools and handouts are provided to assist the dietitian in counseling clients.This course was developed by the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for their Manual of Medical Nutrition Therapy to provide Licensed and Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists (RDNs) and technicians with evidence-based, non-biased information on nutrition education for diabetes mellitus.
Overweight and obesity constitute one of the nation’s ten leading health indicators with nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States now classified as either overweight or obese. Before any diet and physical activity program can be personalized and implemented, a nutrition assessment is needed, along with an understanding of the individual’s readiness to change and motivation. This course was developed by the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for their Manual of Medical Nutrition Therapy to provide Licensed and Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists (RDNs) and technicians with evidence-based, non-biased information on the prevention and treatment of obesity in adults. Topics covered include: obesity synopsis; reimbursement considerations; nutrition assessment (diagnosis, intervention, monitoring and evaluation); pharmacotherapy for weight-loss (prescription and OTC); and physical activity. Nutrition education handouts are included at the end of the course.
This course is designed to help clinicians enhance their working knowledge of the etiology and treatment of obesity, including assessment skills, diagnostic issues, treatment planning, and current developments in pharmacological and surgical treatments. Case studies will elucidate different aspects of treatment. The information in this course will be especially helpful to clinicians who work with obese individuals and want to provide better psychological care.
Professional Development Resources is a CPE Accredited Provider with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR #PR001). CPE accreditation does not constitute endorsement by CDR of provider programs or materials. Professional Development Resources is also a provider with the Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition (#50-1635) and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within 1 week of completion).