In a new study, researchers found that if the fatty fish people eat were free of environmental pollutants, it would reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
They found that the pollutants in the fish may have the opposite health effect.
The research was conducted by a team from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.
Previous research has shown contradictory results about the effect of fish consumption on diabetes risk.
For example, some studies find that eating a lot of fish reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while others show it has no effect, and some studies show it even tends to increase the diabetes risk.
In the study, the team examined the influence of eating fatty fish on type 2 diabetes.
A total of 421 people with type 2 diabetes and 421 healthy people were tested.
The participants completed questionnaires on dietary habits and lifestyle and provided blood samples, which were frozen.
The team used innovative methods that could be used to address several questions about food and health.
They separated the effect of the fish on diabetes risk from the effect of various environmental pollutants that are present in fish.
They found showed that fish consumption as a whole has no effect on diabetes risk.
The team then screened out the effect of environmental pollutants using a new data analysis method based on machine learning.
They were able to see that fish themselves provide clear protection against type 2 diabetes.
The protection is provided mainly by the consumption of fatty fish. However, there is a link between high consumption of fatty fish and high contents of environmental pollutants in the blood.
Environmental pollutants measured in the present study are persistent organic pollutants (POPs), for example, dioxins, DDT and PCB.
These substances are fat soluble and are primarily found in fatty animal foods such as fish, meat and dairy products.
Particularly high contents are found in fatty fish such as herring and wild salmon from polluted areas.
These things may be linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The team concludes that fatty fish could benefit people at a high risk of type 2 diabetes, but if the fish are from polluted areas, the benefit will be gone.
People need to be careful when they select fatty fish to eat.
One author of the study is Lin Shi, a Postdoc in Food and Nutrition science.
The study is published in The Journal of Nutrition.
Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.