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February 2018

Healthy Fats and Diabetes Risk

More than half of the adults in the US have diabetes or pre-diabetes and rates are increasing. What you eat matters!  Substituting healthy fats for saturated fats and refined carbohydrates, starches, sugars may reduce your risk of diabetes.  The key is to help your body become more sensitive to insulin.  Studies suggest that healthy fats can improve metabolic health by reducing insulin resistance and lowering blood sugar levels.      

Know Your Fats
Not all fats are bad for you!  The key is to know what the healthy ones are.  Fats are divided into three main categories:  monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated (that includes trans fats).

The healthiest fats are mono and polyunsaturated.  These fats are typically liquid at room temperature and generally come from plant sources.  They include: olive, avocado, canola, sunflower and peanut oils, avocados, and most nuts and seeds. Omega-3’s are a type of polyunsaturated fat found in seafood such as: salmon, trout, herring, tuna and mackerel.

Keep in mind these fats are healthier, yet all fats are packed with calories. Moderation is key, especially if you need to lose weight.

Reducing Diabetes Risk
Choose a diet that includes a variety of colorful vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, reduced fat dairy products, whole grains and fresh fruit.

  • Select carbs from nutrient rich whole foods: legumes, fruits and whole grains with at least 3-5 grams of fiber for 15 gms of carbs.  Minimize sweets and beverages with sugar.
  • Spread carbs over the day and always pair grains and fruits with lean protein and a healthy fat.  Try a small apple with 2 Rye Krisp and 1/4 avocado OR Plain Greek Yogurt w/ berries topped with 1 T. slivered almonds as a healthy snack alternative.
  • Swap refined carbs, starches, sugars and saturated fats with healthy fats.  Instead of chips w/ranch dressing try raw vegetables with guacamole.

Other things to consider: maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and get enough sleep. 

How Much Fat?
This depends on your calorie needs to maintain a healthy weight. Typically, it is 20-35 grams of fat daily. For each carb serving you swap you can add about 8-10 grams of healthy fat.

Check Nutrition Labels
LIMIT Saturated Fats: 10% or less of total calories.

AVOID Trans-Fat:  say no to hydrogenated oils.

PORTIONS Be mindful of serving size, calories add up.

REPLACE  Sugar, candy, Danish, bagels, cookies and white rice with healthy fat.

A serving of fat contains 5 grams of fat and is equal to:

 7 almonds • 1/8 avocado • 1 tsp olive oil • 2 T. seeds • 1 T. nut butter


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