Whether metabolic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is best achieved with the traditional high-carbohydrate (CHO), low-fat diet or a low-CHO, high-fat diet is still controversial. In a randomized crossover study, we compared the effects of a low-fat (30% of daily energy) diet and a high-fat (40% of daily energy), high-monounsaturated-fat diet for 6 weeks each on fasting and postprandial glucose, insulin, and lipoprotein concentrations in 12 patients with well-controlled type 2 DM (fasting blood glucose, 176 +/- 54 mg/dL; hemoglobin A1c, 6.4% +/- 0.7%) and no overt dyslipidemia (serum total cholesterol, 235 +/- 43 mg/dL; triglycerides, 180 +/- 63 mg/dL). Home-prepared foods were used and olive oil was the main edible fat, accounting for 8% and 25% of daily energy requirements in the low-fat and high-fat diets, respectively. For postprandial studies, the same mixed meal containing 36% fat was used in both dietary periods. Body weight and fasting and 6-hour postprandial blood glucose, insulin, and lipoprotein levels were similar after the two diets. The mean incremental area under the curve of serum triglycerides 0 to 6 hours after the challenge meal, adjusted for baseline levels, did not change significantly after the high-fat diet compared with the low-fat diet (1,484 +/- 546 v 1,714 +/- 709 mg x 6 h/dL, respectively, P = .099). Mean postprandial triglyceride levels at 6 hours were increased about 2 times over fasting levels and were still greater than 300 mg/dL after either diet. A diet high in total and monounsaturated fat at the expense of olive oil is a good alternative diet to the traditional low-fat diet for patients with type 2 DM. However, ongoing postprandial hypertriglyceridemia with either diet points to the need for other therapies to decrease triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TRL) and the inherent atherogenic risk in type 2 diabetics.