A recent study conducted by scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences suggests that a type of dietary fat mainly found in plants could potentially lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The fatty acid in question is called linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid that our body needs but cannot produce on its own, and therefore, must be obtained through the diet.
It is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) and plays a crucial role in brain function, growth and development, maintaining bone health, regulating metabolism, and keeping the reproductive system healthy.
The study aimed to examine the relationship between omega-6 fatty acid intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women in the United States.
The researchers followed 83,648 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, 88,610 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II, and 41,771 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study for several years.
During the follow-up period, there were 18,442 cases of type 2 diabetes.
The participants’ dietary information was collected every 2-4 years using validated food-frequency questionnaires, and the team found that omega-6 fatty acids, primarily linoleic acid, accounted for 4.4-6.8% of total energy on average.
The researchers discovered that the risk of type 2 diabetes was 14% lower when linoleic acid replaced saturated fats (5% of energy), 17% lower for trans fats (2% of energy), or 9% lower for carbohydrates (5% of energy).
This suggests that replacing these unhealthy dietary components with linoleic acid could have a positive impact on one’s health.
Saturated fats, found in foods like butter, palm and coconut oils, cheese, and red meat, are unhealthy fats that are most often solid at room temperature.
Too much of these fats can cause cholesterol to build up in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and weight gain.
Trans fats, which are commonly found in many fried, “fast” packaged, or processed foods, raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels.
Eating trans fats increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
The study also found that replacing linoleic acid with omega-3 fatty acids or monounsaturated fats did not significantly affect the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The team concluded that linoleic acid is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, particularly when replacing unhealthy saturated fatty acids, trans fats, or carbohydrates in the diet.
More about linoleic acid
Linoleic acid is an essential omega-6 fatty acid that is important for human health.
Our bodies are not able to produce this fatty acid, so we need to get it from our diet. Linoleic acid is found in a variety of foods, including vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and certain fruits and vegetables.
Linoleic acid plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, including the production of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that help to regulate inflammation and blood pressure.
It is also involved in the development and maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and nails, as well as the growth and repair of tissues.
Studies have shown that consuming adequate amounts of linoleic acid may help to reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
However, it is important to consume this fatty acid in moderation, as consuming too much may actually increase the risk of some health problems.
Overall, linoleic acid is an important nutrient that should be included as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
It is especially important to replace saturated and trans fats with healthier polyunsaturated fats like linoleic acid to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
If you care about diabetes, please read studies about a cure for type 2 diabetes, and why insulin is more expensive for people with diabetes.
For more information about health, please see recent studies that blueberries strongly benefit people with metabolic syndrome, and results showing eggs in a plant-based diet may benefit people with type 2 diabetes.
The research is published in Diabetes Care and was conducted by Geng Zong et al.
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