Avoid Eating This Kind Of Fat If You Have Diabetes

Diabetes can make it difficult to enjoy your favorite foods and try new cuisines. You have to read the nutrition label, watch out for hidden sugars, and double-check the menu when eating out. What matters most is to listen to your body and see how it responds to different foods and ingredients. There is no one diet that works for everyone trying to prevent or manage this condition, according to a 2019 consensus report published in Diabetes Care.

As the researchers noted, a balanced meal plan should provide adequate amounts of protein, carbs, and fats, plus vitamins and other micronutrients for adults with diabetes. Generally, it's recommended to consume at least 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories of food and cut down on added sugar. Diabetes Care also suggests limiting carbs and choosing whole foods over their processed counterparts. Potato chips, bagels, cookies, and other processed foods are often high in refined carbs, notes the American Diabetes Association. These nutrients tend to increase blood glucose levels, affecting your health. For example, added sugars may trigger inflammation and promote weight gain in the long run.

However, cutting back on added sugar and refined carbs is just the first step to managing diabetes. Certain types of fat can be just as bad as added sugar, so you might need to tweak your diet and seek healthier options. 

Trans fats can lead to diabetes complications

Diabetes affects your body's ability to produce insulin and metabolize glucose, which can lead to heart or kidney disease, stroke, and nerve damage (via the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases). Unfortunately, limiting added sugar isn't enough to prevent these issues. Dietary fat plays a role, too, notes Diabetes Care. Replacing refined carbs with high-fat foods can potentially improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels, but not all fats are created equal.

Diabetes Care recommends cutting back on trans fats, except for those occurring naturally in meat and dairy. These trans fat compounds are heavily processed and can affect blood cholesterol levels, warns the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In the long run, they may contribute to cardiovascular problems, stroke, weight gain, and diabetes. This type of fat could also affect insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes or those with insulin resistance, per an Atherosclerosis Supplements 2006 review.

When you have diabetes, you're at higher risk for heart disease and other conditions. A diet rich in trans fats can further increase these risks. U.S. manufacturers are required to list the exact amount of trans fatty acids on food labels if it exceeds 0.5 grams per serving, says the Mayo Clinic. However, it's easy to go overboard when eating snacks, pizza, or other processed foods — and those small and hidden amounts of trans fat can add up. To stay safe, limit trans fat to less than 1% of your daily calorie intake, suggests the U.S. National Library of Medicine.