Good Fats and Diabetes

The latest research suggests replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats can have beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and is likely to reduce one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association currently recommends individuals affected with type 1 or 2 diabetes commit 60% – 70% of total daily calories to a blend of monounsaturated fats and carbohydrates. Additionally, a review of a number of different clinical trials shows that monounsaturated fats can “prevent or ameliorate metabolic syndrome* and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk” by favorably moderating blood lipids and blood pressure.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association also suggests eating a diet rich in omega-3 fats may help keep high-risk children from developing type 1 diabetes.

New research also indicates that adhering to a Mediterranean diet—with an emphasis on consuming extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts—may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in older adults who are already at a high risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 40%. Both extra-virgin olive oil and mixed nuts are anti-inflammatory in nature, exhibit antioxidant effects and provide unsaturated fatty acids that have previously been shown to decrease diabetes risk.


*Metabolic syndrome is defined by a collection of metabolic disorders occurring in an individual and associates with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and CVD.


The polyunsaturated fat in
hazelnuts may reduce diabetes risk.