The impact of fats and oils on diabetes risk depends on which type of fat you eat. In most studies, total fat intake was not associated with diabetes risk.1 In fact, polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are found in high amounts in nuts and most vegetable oils (not in palm and coconut oil), are related to lower diabetes risk according to large cohort studies.2 A healthy diet supplemented with nuts has been shown to reduce diabetes risk.3-4 Replacing saturated fats such as palm oil or butter with sources of unsaturated fats such as olive and canola oil in cooking has also been related to lower disease risk.5
Trans fats are associated with an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.2 Unfortunately, many cooking staples and food items in Asia are not controlled for trans fat content. Vegetable ghee, a partially hydrogenated vegetable oil common in India, can contain as much as 50 percent trans fat.6
Take a look at the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate for more information on how to create healthy, balanced meals.