Healthy Fats and Oils Help Control Type 2 Diabetes

Author's Perspective: For years I thought that fat was bad, so I avoided it like the plague.

In fact, many of the experts in the fields of medicine and nutrition believed that fat was bad for us. That led to all of the low-fat and low-cholesterol diets during the 1970s - 1990s. Unfortunately, many of those low fat diets of the past 30-40 years actually made us fatter, and created the diabetes epidemic of today! 

As most experts finally discovered, the human body requires fat in order for us to be healthy. The key is to eat the right types of fats, e.g. plant oils and wild animal fats instead of conventional animal fats and processed fats.

Eating the right types of fat will help to stabilize your blood sugar and control your diabetes naturally.

Fat is a main component of the structure of our cells, especially the cell membranes and the nervous system. If you were to remove all fat from your body, you will die instantly.

So, don’t think about fat as a harmful substance unless you are thinking about highly processed fats. These fats cause several major health problems, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. 

However, fats in their natural state and consumed in moderate amounts as part of a balanced diet, are beneficial to your overall health and immune system.

Some of the health benefits of eating healthy fats include the following:

  • Helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, K)
  • Note: Low-fat diets reduce the absorption of these vitamins!
  • Provides satiety and taste to meals
  • Helps prevent blood clots
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol)
  • Provides phytochemicals that act as antioxidants
  • Prevents and fights cell inflammation in the body
  • Provides structural integrity to all of the cells in the body
  • Helps immune cells recognize and destroy dangerous pathogens
  • Helps cells to send signals and communicate with other cells

In fact, eating healthy fats and oils can actually help to control Type 2 diabetes naturally!

If you're interested in learning more about eating healthy fats and going on a low carb diet, then, get the author's Low Carb Diets book.

The following healthy fats and oils help to prevent and better manage Type 2 diabetes, along with other diseases and health problems such as obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure:

Top Healthy Fats

Olive Oil: When we have fats in our diet like MUFAs, they not only fill us up but keep cholesterol levels lower. Olive oil is great for light sauteing, using in dressings, or drizzling over cooked meats or vegetables as a finishing oil. One tablespoon (tbsp) offers 119 calories and 13.5 g of fat, only 2 g of which are saturated fat, according to the USDA.

Avocado: Though technically a fruit, avocados offer a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). They're also packed with fiber to bolster digestive health. One-half of an avocado contains 161 calories, 2 grams (g) of protein, 15 g of fat, 9 g of total carbs, and 7 g of fiber (bringing it to 2 g of net carbs), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Avocado Oil: Like olive oil, avocado oil is rich in anti-inflammatory MUFAs, but the benefit to using avocado oil is that it stands up to high-heat cooking due to a smoke point of 500 degrees F. According to the USDA, 1 tbsp of avocado oil has 124 calories, 14 g of fat, and 0 g of carbohydrates.

Omega-3 EFAs: contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are important in preventing and managing heart disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids may help to: lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides, slow the development of plaque in the arteries, reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm, and, reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that everyone eats fish (particularly fatty, cold-water fish) at least twice a week. Wild salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, lake trout, and tuna are especially high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

If you have heart disease or high triglyceride levels, you may need even more omega-3 fatty acids. Ask your doctor if you should take higher doses of fish oil supplements to get the omega-3s you need.

Nuts and Nut Butter: Nuts may offer unsaturated fats, but they also contain carbs, so look at the label to calculate exactly what you’re getting. As an example, 1 tbsp of almond butter has 98 calories, 3 g of protein, 9 g of fat, 3 g of total carbs, and about 1.5 g of fiber (equaling about 1.5 g of net carbs), per the USDA. And, the USDA also notes, a 1-ounce (oz) serving of almonds (23 almonds) has 164 calories, 6 g of protein, 14 g of fat, 6 g of carbohydrates, and 3.5 g of fiber (totaling about 2.5 g net carbs).

Chia Seeds and Flaxseed: These seeds offer Omega-3 fatty acids, which will improve the ratio of omega-6s to 3s you consume, which some research suggests optimizes health. For example, an article published in September 2016 in the journal Open Heart cited research that linked consuming more omega-3s and fewer omega-6s (which are high in Western diets) to a lower risk of insulin resistance — the hallmark of Type 2 diabetes — and obesity, among other protective health benefits.

The USDA says 1 oz of chia seeds has 138 calories, 5 g of protein, 9 g of fat, 12 g of carbs, and a whopping 10 g of fiber (so only 2 net carbs). And also according to the USDA, 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed has 37 calories, 1 g of protein, 3 g of fat, 2 g of carbs, and 2 g of fiber (basically 0 net carbs). Just be sure to grind your own flaxseed to avoid rancid oil and so that your body can absorb their Omega-3s.

Note: Although hard to find, raw butter is actually a healthy (saturated) fat. That's raw butter -- not organic butter. Organic butter is still pasteurized. Also, unprocessed cod liver oil is healthy for you -- again, not the traditional cod liver oil such as Carlson's cod liver oil, which is heated and overly-processed, destroying its nutrients.

The following least healthy fats and oils Help to fuel many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, autoimmune diseases and thyroid disease:

  • Vegetable oils (i.e. corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower)
  • Canola oil
  • Margarine
  • Pasteurized butter
  • Lard
  • Hydrogenated oils, Trans fats
  • Fried foods

Various industrial chemicals and highly toxic solvents are used in the manufacture and processing of vegetable oils. These chemicals increase cell inflammation, oxidative stress and toxicity within your cells -- precursors to diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and autoimmune diseases.

Vegetable oils convert to seriously damaged breakdown products that have been linked to heart disease and neurological disorders. These include the fatty acid-derived toxin 4-hydroxy-trans-2-nonenal (HNE).

Many studies have linked HNE consumption to increased risks for cardiovascular disease, stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, liver problems and cancer.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

77% MUFA, 9% PUFA, 14% saturated

Made from: Olives

Smoke point: 375–470ºF, depending on variety

Olive oil is the healthiest oil you can buy, as it contains the highest monounsaturate content. Extra-virgin is the oil that results from the first cold pressing of the olives. Being the purest olive oil, it's also the most expensive.

But because it has a low smoke point, it should not be used for cooking. Also, make sure that it's really extra virgin or cold-pressed.

FYI: Olive oil is primarily a monounsaturated fat (MUFA), which means it has one double bond in its fatty acid structure. Although a MUFA is inherently more stable than a polyunsaturated fat (PUFA), when too much heat is applied, MUFAs become unstable, creating oxidized oil that can do more harm than good to your body.

Note: Actually, extra virgin avocado oil provides more health benefits and has more monounsaturated fats, antioxidants (e.g. lutein, Vitamin E), beta sitosterol, and a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil.

Flaxseed Oil (Organic)

18% MUFA, 73% PUFA, 9% saturated

Made from: Flaxseed

Smoke point: Some sources say 225ºF, but don't use this for cooking.

Since the oil is more condensed than whole flaxseeds, it provides more omega-3s, but you lose the fiber and lignans. Flaxseed oil is a terrific option for individuals suffering from high blood pressure, and studies show that supplementing with flaxseed oil on a daily basis can lower blood pressure and have a cardio protective effect.

However, flaxseed oil can go rancid very quickly (even faster if you heat it), so this oil should be stored in the refrigerator and only used for low-temperature uses such as dressing salads.

Walnut Oil

23% MUFA, 63% PUFA, 9% saturated

Made from: Walnuts

Smoke point: 160–200ºF

Walnut oil is one of the few plant oils that will give you a healthy omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.

But, its high PUFA content makes it prone to rancidity, and its low smoke point means it's not great for cooking.

Virgin olive oil: This is also the result of the first pressing of the olives, but it is more acidic and the flavor is less robust. Always choose cold-pressed. Most mass-produced varieties are extracted with chemical solvents. Use for cooking foods at low and medium temperatures only.

Safflower oil: Choose the high-oleic version of this light, neutral-flavored oil. It's high in monounsaturates and has a high smoke point.

Grapeseed oil: has a high smoke point of 475 degrees.

Sesame seed oil has a smoke point of 

What Causes Oil to Get Rancid?

All oils will eventually get rancid just sitting around in your cupboard. In addition to smelling and tasting nasty, rancid oil contains harmful free radicals and shouldn’t be consumed.

The more polyunsaturated fat there is in an oil, the faster it will spoil.

For that reason, be careful with nut and seed oils because they are high in polyunsaturated fat. Buy these oils in small quantities and store them in the refrigerator.

Oils that are lower in polyunsaturated fats, such as like olive, canola, and coconut oil, are fine stored in a cool cupboard.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil 

Choose this oil for cooking because it is nearly a completely saturated fat, which means it is much less susceptible to heat damage.

But, make sure that the coconut oil is first-pressed, organic, extra virgin,or virgin -- avoid the refined coconut oils.

This oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which help balance appetite-controlling and other hormones. They keep you feeling full and satisfied; and, they improve your cholesterol profile.

They also help you burn fat. One study found MCT oils help reduce body fat and triglycerides better than omega-6 vegetable oils. After eight weeks, the MCT-oil group lost more weight, body fat, and subcutaneous fat while experiencing a 15 percent drop in triglycerides and LDL ("bad” cholesterol).

Light Olive Oil

"Light" refers to the oil's color and taste, not its calorie content. It has the same amount of beneficial monounsaturated fat as regular olive oil. It has a higher smoke point, making it a good choice for baking and light-heat cooking.

Avocado Oil

71% MUFA, 13% PUFA, 12% saturated

Made from: Avocados

Smoke point: 400ºF

This light-tasting oil is not only high in monounsaturated fats, but has a high smoke point so that it can also withstand some light-heat cooking.

Avocado oil is also loaded with vitamin E, which may help to strengthen our skin and immune system. However, this oil can be really expensive.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil 

Choose this oil for cooking because it is nearly a completely saturated fat, which means it is much less susceptible to heat damage.

Peanut Oil

48% MUFA, 34% PUFA, 18% saturated

Made from: Peanuts

Smoke point: 450ºF

The super high smoke point means peanut oil is a great choice for deep-frying. But, be careful -- most commercial brands are chemically processed, though expeller-pressed brands are available at specialty stores and online.

Because peanut oil can sometimes be chemically extracted, select varieties labeled "expeller-pressed", "roasted", or "toasted". 

When you cook with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as canola, corn, and soybean oils), the oil becomes oxidized and trans fats are produced, which can increase your risk of chronic diseases such as breast cancer and heart disease.

In addition, the majority of these vegetable oils are made from genetically engineered crops, which contain GMO toxins, such as glyphosate found in genetically engineered corn and soy.

Another important factor is that most vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fats and it is the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats that plays an important role in determining many illnesses.

Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body can' t make them -- you have to get them through food.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as wild salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils.

Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain and heart function, as well as normal growth and development.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.

Omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. DHA) are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function.

Diets such as the Mediterranean diet and the Death to Diabetes diet include eating foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids, including: walnuts, free-range eggs, leafy greens, flaxseed, unprocessed cod liver oil,and fish (especially wild salmon and sardines).

Note: Be careful if you decide to take an Omega-3 supplement. Many of them are overheated and overly-processed such that the beneficial nutrients in the oil are destroyed.

Coconut oil has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar levels and facilitate weight loss, helping to controlType 2 diabetes.

Coconut oil does not need insulin to be absorbed by the cells and to be used as energy. Your body can use the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil in much the same way as it can use glucose, but it doesn’t require insulin to do it.

And, because coconut oil can supply needed energy without insulin, it helps slow down the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream and stabilizes blood sugar levels.

In Type 2 diabetics, this breaks the cycle of high glucose levels, high insulin levels and insulin resistance.

Because of the problems with absorbing glucose, your metabolism slows down, your energy level drops and you gain weight.

Coconut oil can counter this effect when it is absorbed by the cells, boosting the metabolism, allowing your body to burn more fat faster.

Other health benefits of coconut oil include:

  • Heart healthy
  • Skin care and hair care
  • Improving digestion
  • Boosting immunity against infections and diseases
  • Regulating thyroid gland activity
  • Fighting candida

Take 2-3 tablespoons daily with or before your meals to reap these benefits.

Educating yourself about these healthy fats and oils is the first step. For more details about eating healthy fats and oils, along with healthy, diabetic-friendly recipes, get the author's Low Carb Diets book or his 3-in-1 Death to Diabetes Cookbook. 





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