A new study suggests that the possibility of type 2 diabetes may strikingly minimized by consuming a diet rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats.
"We are faced with an increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes which has mostly been attributed to increasing obesity but one contributing factor, especially in Australia is a declining use of margarines and oils which are rich in linoleic acid, an omega-6 oil", Professor Clifton says.
Some previous studies have raised concerns that omega-6 may have negative health effects, such as inflammation leading to the increased risk of chronic diseases. These findings shed a new light on the possible health benefits of omega-6 that is found in bean and seed oils such as soybean and sunflower oils in nuts, and further support recommendations to increase dietary intake of omega-6 rich foods.
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The studies included a total of 39,740 adults aged 49-76 years from 10 countries, including the USA, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Finland, Australia, Iceland, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and Sweden.
However, such fears were not borne out in the study, where people with higher levels of arachidonic acid in their blood were no more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Senior author and Professor Dariush Mozaffarian, of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in MA said that there is a spectacular proof. The experiment was conducted on 39,740 adults from ten countries to determine their levels of linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, 4,347 out of which developed diabetes over time.
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"The people involved in the study were generally healthy and were not given specific guidance on what to eat".
The researchers caution that numerous studies included in their analysis were observational, so they are unable to prove cause and effect between higher linoleic acid levels and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
While we know some fats are good for us, and are essential as part of a balanced diet, did you know some can actually help prevent type 2 diabetes?
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"Some scientists have theorised that omega-6 is harmful to health", Wu said.