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CPD Corner: How does the quality of the fats we eat affect our glucose levels?

Average read time: 1 minute

The quality of foods we eat every day influence our bodies in different ways. Our current CPD article looks at how fats, specifically polyunsaturated fat (PUFA); mono-unsaturated fat (MUFA) and saturated fat (SFA), affect the relationship between our bodies and glucose/insulin. The reviewers specifically wanted to find out how these fats influence “diabetes mediators including blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and ability to produce insulin”.

How does the quality of the fats we eat affect our glucose levels

What were the findings?

This was a large systematic review including 102 trials, including 239 diet arms and 4 220 adults who met the eligibility requirements. The conclusions of the study were that the (isocaloric) replacement of carbohydrates and SFA with unsaturated fats, especially PUFA, had favourable results. Substituting carbohydrates with SFA had no influence on blood glucose control.

What does this all mean?

Authors have this to say in their own words:

“This investigation suggests that consuming more unsaturated fats in place of either carbohydrates or saturated fats will help improve blood glucose control. Sole emphasis on lowering consumption of carbohydrates or saturated fats would not be optimal.”

These findings support benefits of eating more vegetable oils and spreads, nuts, oily fish, and vegetables rich in unsaturated fats in place of either animal fats or refined grains, starches, and sugars.

Read more on how does the quality of the fats we eat affect our glucose levels in our CPD section.


Imamura F, Micha R, Wu JHY, de Oliveira Otto MC, Otite FO, Abioye AI, et al. (2016) Effects of Saturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat, and Carbohydrate on Glucose-Insulin Homeostasis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Feeding Trials. PLoS Med 13(7): e1002087. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002087

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