Individuals with type 2 diabetes should choose their fat wisely, research suggests

Many people understand the risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, including old age, obesity, high cholesterol and a family history of the condition. Some individuals who know they have a high risk of becoming diabetic consciously avoid eating high-fat diets.

However, a recent study published in the journal Nature Immunology indicated that the variety of fats that a person consumes may play a role in developing diabetes or exacerbating type 2 diabetes symptoms.

The study's results showed that only saturated fatty acids, as opposed to the unsaturated type, stimulate the production of an inflammatory protein known as interleukin-1beta by immune cells.

"The cellular path that mediates fatty acid metabolism is also the one that causes interleukin-1beta production," said lead researcher Jenny Y. Ting.

The protein is detrimental for individuals who have type 2 diabetes because it inhibits the ability of body tissues and organs, such as liver, muscle and fat, to respond to insulin.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a healthy diabetic diet should limit sugary foods, carbohydrates, fats and alcohol, and include plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. People who have diabetes should also eat frequently and ask a registered dietician or physician about the best times of the day to consume certain products.

The agency warns that many individuals unintentionally add extra fat to some of their healthy diabetic meals. Some ingredients that may lead to excess fat consumption include butter, margarine, lard and oils.

Diabetics who prepare their meals at home may consider using several tricks to avoid eating too much fat, especially the saturated variety. Broiling, microwaving, baking, roasting, steaming, or grilling foods may promote healthy eating, the American Diabetes Association recommends. Herbs and spices may also provide low-fat seasoning to lean meats and vegetables.