Are All Fats Bad?

"Healthy Fats" May Lower Diabetes Risk. By: Kendra Hood

Article Summary

Author: Agata Blaszczak-Boxe

Source: PLOS One

Publication: Live

A new study has found that swapping cheese and meat with nuts and vegetable oil may cut type 2 diabetes risk. Researchers say that increased intake of polyunsaturated fat can reduce the risk of developing full-blown diabetes among people who have a certain prediabetes type.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there were 86 million prediabetic Americans aged 20 and above in 2012. Prediabetic people are those with high levels of blood sugar but the rates do not meet the diagnosis criteria for type 2 diabetes. The statistics also found that 29.1 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes, majority of which were type 2.

In the study, the research team found that among prediabetic people whose muscles don't consume glucose properly, taking more polyunsaturated fat and less saturated fat seemed to slow down the progression of developing type 2 diabetes. Polyunsaturated fat is found in nuts and vegetable oils while saturated fat is found in cheese and meat.

The research team analyzed a mixed group of participants consisting of 23 obese individuals, 14 endurance-trained athletes, 15 healthy, 10 prediabetic people and 11 type 2 diabetes patients. The levels of fatty acids and blood sugar were measured after answering a diet questionnaire. From the collected data, the research team measured the levels of polyunsaturated and saturated fats they consumed in the last three months prior to the study.

Among the prediabetic people whose glucose consumption in the muscles is affected, the ones who ate more polyunsaturated fats had higher insulin sensitivity levels. The researchers said that the findings could be translated as to having a lower risk of developing diabetes. There is another type of prediabetes wherein the liver produces high levels of glucose. In this type, reducing the intake of saturated fat can also improve insulin sensitivity. However, people with this type of prediabetes will not benefit from eating more polyunsaturated fats.

Article Critique

The author of the article seemed to be very knowledgable of the subject matter being presented. This article was written by Agata Blaszczak-Boxe and originally published in the journal PLOS One. It discussed if certain types of fats, such as in vegetable oils can lower the risks of developing diabetes.

A portion of the article stated "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." ( I feel like this is basically saying that risk factors all depend on the person and how severe their pre diabetes actually is. If it is caught early enough and their diet is modified according to the type of fat intake, they may actually have a better chance at having a decrease in their chances of developing diabetes.

"The findings suggest that increasing dietary intake of polyunsaturated fats may have a beneficial effect for patients with a certain type of prediabetes," said King's College London diabetes researcher and study co-author Nicola Guess. However, the findings also revealed why there are particular dietary changes that offer no effect on lowering the disease progression among people with the other prediabetes subtype.

A lot of research is needed to be done in these types of studies because they could be a huge breakthrough in what is known about the management and prevention of diabetes. I feel like this particular article does a good job with explaining how the so called "healthy fats" affect the body and their impact on diabetes and insulin sensitivity. However, Insulin sensitivity might be related to other factors, such as changes in exercise, percentage of body fat, and even genetics. Overall there could be many contributions to insulin sensitivity other than the type of fats consumed or how much is needed to be consumed to cause such a change.

Even though the article seems knowledgable, more research could be done 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. "Some recent research has suggested that getting about 12 percent of your total daily calories from polyunsaturated fat is optimal. The researchers noted that the new study was small and that further research with more participants is needed to confirm the results." ( More information to support the research presented in the article could probably be found on the PLOS One website.


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