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Healthy Fats for Diabetics: Evidence-Based Choices for Indians

Food, Medicines, and Lies The Health Talk series by Dr. Prritii

Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs):

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Sources: Olive oil, avocado, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios), seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds), and olives.

Evidence: A study published in the journal "Diabetes Care" found that a diet rich in MUFAs improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Additionally, research published in "Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism" showed that replacing saturated fats with MUFAs reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals with diabetes.

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs)

Sources: Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybean oil.

Evidence: A systematic review published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" concluded that higher intake of PUFAs was associated with improved insulin sensitivity and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, a study in the "Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology" suggested that omega-3 PUFAs found in fatty fish may help lower blood glucose levels and improve lipid profiles in individuals with diabetes.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Sources: Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and algae supplements.

Evidence: Research published in "Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews" demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids may help improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in individuals with diabetes. A study in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" found that omega-3 supplementation improved glycemic control and reduced triglyceride levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Coconut oil (in moderation)

Evidence: While coconut oil is high in saturated fats, some studies suggest that it may have neutral or beneficial effects on blood lipid profiles in certain populations, including Indians. A study published in the "Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that coconut oil consumption did not adversely affect lipid profiles in Indian adults. Additionally, research published in "Food & Function" suggested that the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil may improve insulin sensitivity and reduce abdominal obesity in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Ghee (clarified butter) (in moderation)

Evidence: Ghee is a traditional fat commonly used in Indian cooking. While high in saturated fats, ghee contains short-chain fatty acids like butyric acid, which may have anti-inflammatory and metabolic benefits. A study published in "Current Developments in Nutrition" suggested that ghee consumption may improve lipid profiles and reduce markers of inflammation in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Incorporating these healthy fats into the diet can help improve insulin sensitivity, blood sugar control, and overall cardiovascular health in individuals with diabetes, including those of Indian descent. However, it's essential to consume fats in moderation and as part of a balanced diet rich in whole, minimally processed foods.


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