March 23, 2016
1 min read

Polyunsaturated fat may slow type 2 diabetes progression

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The progression to type 2 diabetes in people with prediabetes whose muscles do not take up glucose properly can be slowed by replacing saturated fat in the diet with polyunsaturated fat, according to study findings.

“The findings suggest that increasing dietary intake of polyunsaturated fats may have a beneficial effect for patients with a certain type of prediabetes but also illuminates why certain dietary changes may have no effect on progression of type 2 diabetes in the other subtype,” Nicola Guess, MPH, PhD, of the division of diabetes and nutritional sciences at King’s College London, said in a press release. “We intend to build on this work with larger studies and, ultimately, test this idea in a randomized trial.”

Guess and colleagues evaluated 15 normoglycemic controls, 14 athletes, 23 people with obesity, 10 with prediabetes and 11 with type 2 diabetes to determine the effect of dietary fatty acid intake on fasting and 2-hour plasma glucose concentrations.

Researchers performed oral glucose tolerance test and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp on all participants.

Positive associations were found between fasting plasma glucose and saturated fat (P = .004) and trans fat (P = .045). Negative associations were found between percent suppression of hepatic glucose production and saturated fat (P = .032) and trans fat (P = .06). No link was found between polyunsaturated fat and FPG or percent suppression of hepatic glucose production.

Two-hour plasma glucose was positively associated with saturated fat (P = .005) and trans fat (P = .001). Clamp glucose rate of disappearance was negatively associated with saturated fat (P = .039) and trans fat (P = .001). Polyunsaturated fat was negatively linked to 2-hour plasma glucose (P = .021) and positively linked to clamp glucose rate of disappearance (P = .081).

“Major findings from the current study demonstrate that dietary [saturated fat] intake corresponded to higher fasting and [2-hour plasma glucose] concentration, whereas dietary trans fats and [polyunsaturated fat] had opposing effects that were limited to processes regulating [2-hour plasma glucose],” the researchers wrote. “Our findings raise the possibility that dietary advice targeted to the specific pathophysiological defects in both [impaired fasting glucose] and [impaired glucose tolerance] could increase the effectiveness of traditional lifestyle modification programs.” – by Amber Cox

Disclosure: Guess reports receiving a Winston Churchill Trust Travel Fellowship. Please see the full study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.