Unhealthy Fats & Oils

Recommendation: Opt for Unsaturated Fats

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.
1 Risérus U, Willett WC, Hu FB. Dietary fats and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Prog Lipid Res. 2009;48:44-51.
2 Salmerón J, Hu FB, Manson JE, et al. Dietary fat intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;73:1019-1026.
4 Jiang R, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Liu S, Willett WC, Hu FB. Nut and peanut butter consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. JAMA. 2002;288:2554-2560.
5 Hu FB, van Dam RM, Liu S. Diet and risk of type II diabetes: the role of types of fat and carbohydrate. Diabetologia. 2001;44:805-817.
6 Malik V, Willett WC, Hu FB. Global obesity: trends, risk factors and policy implications. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2013;9(1):13-27.