Dietary fats and diabetes mellitus: is there a good fat?

Curr Diab Rep. 2001 Oct;1(2):161-9. doi: 10.1007/s11892-001-0029-3.


As knowledge of the fatty acid functions has increased, so has the complexity of making dietary fat recommendations to people with type 2 diabetes. Oleic acid seems to offer a slight advantage over linoleic acid in reducing plasma glucose, insulin levels, total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), and triglycerides, but may also have atherogenic properties through another mechanism. A diet containing a higher proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may require a concomitant increase in antioxidant intake because PUFAs oxidize easily and are then converted to oxidized LDL, which is more atherogenic. In addition to raising total and LDL cholesterol, long chain saturated free fatty acids may interact with plasma glucose to increase insulin secretion. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease triglycerides and reduce the risk of fatal cardiac arrhythmias. Glycemic control does not appear to be adversely affected by omega-3 fatty acids at amounts of up to 3 g/d.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Humans


  • Dietary Fats