Nutrition and Diabetes – Understanding Fats



The knowledge about fats constitutes the most important aspect of diabetic health awareness. And, when it comes to nutrition and diabetes, this knowledge of fats can help you in choosing the right foods and gives you an idea of how to handle your body so that you will decrease or even avoid the risks of heart diseases. Here is more about the part fats play in nutrition and diabetes.

Nutrition and Diabetes -Understanding Fats

Saturated Fats
The easiest way to identify the saturated fats is to see if they solidify easily. This is because saturated fats are bonded with as many hydrogens as is possible for them and hence are more stable and do not bond with any other substances.

  • Saturated fats encourage the production of LDL particles, also known as the bad cholesterol, which is the reason for most of the heart related diseases.
  • Foods such as butter, dairy products that are high in fat content such as cream and fatty cheese, lard, and poultry skin.

Cholesterol is probably the last thing you would want to include in proper nutrition for diabetes. Contrary to the popular belief, most of the cholesterol (almost 75%) that is present in our body is produced by the liver and the rest of the cholesterol (almost 25%) comes from the foods we eat. However, this cholesterol is meant to be transported to the cells for strengthening of the tissues with the help of lipoproteins (HDL or LDL) from the blood.

  • LDL (low density lipoprotein) actually carries majority of the cholesterol present in the blood. But, it has a tendency to accumulate together with other substances in the blood vessels. This can result in the formation of plaque in the blood vessels increasing the risk of heart diseases.
  • Where as, HDL (high density lipoprotein), can carry the cholesterol from the blood vessels and heart to the liver, and also helps remove the plaque that has accumulated because of excess of cholesterol.

Unsaturated Fats

  • Monounsaturated Fats – Monosaturated fats can be said to be one of the best fats when it comes to nutrition for diabetes. Monounsaturated fats (or fatty acids) are those that has one unsaturated bond (that is there are two carbons to which hydrogens can be added). These fats are usually liquids at room temperatures and become solid lower temperatures.
  • Monounsaturated fats though thought to work in favor of insulin resistance, the effect is negligible when compared to saturated fats.
  • They are also reduce the LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, and can promote HDL cholesterol.
  • Foods such as nuts, olives, avocados, whole milk, and oils such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, and avocado oil are known to be rich in monounsaturated fats.

Polyunsaturated Fats
Polyunsaturated fats (or fatty acids) are those with more than one unsaturated carbon bonds in them. These fats are known to be very good at decreasing the cholesterol levels in the blood.

  • Polyunsaturated fats are known to decrease the risks of heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Foods that are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids are fish, fish oil, sunflower oil, and seafood.

Essential Fatty Acids
Including essential fatty acids in your diabetic nutrition list can do a world of good. Essential fatty acids are one type of unsaturated fats that are essential in the sense that they have to be consumed through food and cannot be synthesized by the body. These fats are very important in health and growth of our body and unlike other fats cannot be utilized for energy production.

  • The food sources for essential fatty acids are flax seeds, soya oil, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and leafy vegetables.

Trans Fat
Trans fats are the byproducts that are produced during a process called hydrogenation of oils, that is liquid oils are changed to solid form. Though, they come under unsaturated fats, they do not show as many good properties as other unsaturated fats do.

  • Trans fats like saturated fats help in the production of LDL particles in our body.
  • Processed foods or foods that are prepared for high shelf life or deeply fried foods such as baked goods, shortening, french fries etc are high in trans fats.

There are fats that are good and are very important for healthy sustenance of our body and there are also fats that are bad and can harm our body, and with proper awareness of nutrition and diabetes health care you will be able to decide for yourself how to take care of your health.


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