Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eat Less Fat to Slash Diabetes Risk

There are many risk factors that can predispose someone to developing diabetes. Like all diseases, both genetics and the environment play important roles. Despite this fact, a significant proportion of individuals remain at risk for developing diabetes by being inactive, following a poor diet, smoking, and leading a generally unhealthy lifestyle.

The most significant risk factor is being overweight, which raises one's risk of having high cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose. With all that, it's fairly easy to see why so many more people are developing type 2 diabetes these days. Even weight loss of 5 to 10% can significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes. However, surprisingly, researchers have discovered that some simple dietary changes may slash the risk of developing diabetes, even without significant weight loss.

Since diet is the most major contributor to weight gain or loss, it's no surprise that following sound dietary advice is a key factor to avoiding developing diabetes. The goal is to help individuals lose weight and improve their blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol levels. But according to new a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cutting back on dietary fats might be a simpler way of helping people avoid diabetes.

Participants in the study who were overweight and at risk for diabetes followed diets for eight weeks with either small reductions to their fat intake (27% fat, 55% carb) or carbohydrate intake (39% fat, 43% carb). At the end of 8 weeks, it turned out that the lower fat group showed less insulin resistance and better glucose tolerance which reduced their risk of developing diabetes.

The interesting point about this study was that it improved the quality of the participants' diets, rather than reducing the quantity. Many people find it difficult to cut back on calories and lose weight, so at least modifying the types of calories and foods they're consuming is a significant start and far more manageable.