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Curr Nutr Rep. 2018 Dec;7(4):214-226. doi: 10.1007/s13668-018-0244-z.

Dietary Fat and Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: a Review of Recent Research.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Vermont, 109 Carrigan Drive, 255 MLS Carrigan Wing, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA.



It is estimated that over 400 million people worldwide are living with diabetes. Excess adiposity is the strongest risk factor for non-insulin-dependent diabetes, type 2. Lifestyle interventions have demonstrated that diet plays a critical role in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. Dietary fat is not only a source of energy and nutrients, but also bioactive fatty acids. The purpose of this review was to examine data from recent prospective cohort studies and dietary interventions to determine if there are benefits to fat consumption on diabetes risk.


The consumption of fish and marine n-3 fatty acids among Asian populations and regular-fat dairy foods and trans-palmitoleic acid (trans-16, n-7) among Western populations may be associated with reduced risk for type 2 diabetes. Whereas some dietary fat may contribute to reduced diabetes risk, lifestyle recommendations to balance calories with physical activity are prudent at this time.


Diabetes; Dietary fat; Fat; Fatty acids; Monounsaturated fat; Polyunsaturated fat; Saturated fat; Trans-fat; Type 2 diabetes

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