Don’t fear healthy fats

The days of fearing fat may soon be over, at least for mono- and polyunsaturated fats. And even better news is that consuming more foods with these healthy fats just may prevent type 2 diabetes.

A meta-analysis research study looked at data for 4,660 adults collected from 102 studies.  The participants were given meals with varying amounts of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fat along with different types of carbohydrates. 

Researchers looked at how glucose and insulin were affected and how well the body was able to produce insulin in response to blood sugar.

What was found was blood glucose control was positively affected by foods rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fat when compared with intake of carbohydrate and saturated fat.  What was particularly encouraging was the reduction of HbA1c which is a measure of your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months, an indicator of how well diabetes is being controlled.  

For each 5 percent of calories coming from mono- or polyunsaturated fats rather than from carbohydrates or saturated fats, a 0.1 percent drop in HbA1c occurred.  Previous research has suggested that for each 0.1 percent decrease in HbA1c, the incidence of type 2 diabetes drops by 22 percent and the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases falls by 6.8 percent.

This points to what appears to be the benefits of replacing carbohydrates and saturated fats with more mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

Foods containing healthy fats

Fat-rich foods containing both mono- and polyunsaturated fats are plentiful and include the following:

·         Walnuts

·         Almonds

·         Peanuts and peanut butter

·         Cashews

·         Pistachios

·         Sunflower seeds

·         Soybeans

·         Flaxseed

·         Cold water fatty fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, herring, trout, and mackerel

·         Olive oil

·         Canola oil

·         Peanut oil

·         Safflower oil

·         Sesame oil

·         Avocados

 Tips for replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats

 ·         Use oils containing monounsaturated fat like olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil, instead of oils high in saturated fat like coconut oil and palm oil.

·         Use oils high in polyunsaturated fats like corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, and cottonseed oils instead of coconut oil, palm oil, or hydrogenated vegetable fats.

·         Use liquid oils instead of butter, lard, or hardened vegetable shortening.

·         Eat foods high in unsaturated fats like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna) instead of meat high in saturated fat.

·         Incorporate foods high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil into your salads instead of using products high in saturated fats like mayonnaise based dressings.

·         Try the using plant-sterol margarine products.