Eating Omega-6 Rich Foods Can Reduce Diabetes Risk – Study

Do you consume Omega-6 rich foods? If yes, then your chances of developing type 2 diabetes are very less. This is the conclusion of a new study by Australian researchers.

The risk of developing this chronic condition could be significantly slashed by eating a diet rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), especially found in seed oils, eggs and nuts, the researchers affirmed.

In their study, a team of experts found adults with the higher levels of linoleic acid-the major omega-6 fat- in their blood were at a 35 percent reduced risk of developing diabetes compared to those with the lowest levels of this acid.

“Our findings suggest that a simple change in diet might protect people from developing type 2 diabetes which has reached alarming levels around the world,” lead author Dr Jason Wu, of The George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, said.

“This is striking evidence. The people involved in the study were generally healthy and were not given specific guidance on what to eat. Yet those who had the highest levels of blood omega-6 markers had a much lower chance of developing type 2 diabetes,” said senior author and Professor Dariush Mozaffarian, of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts.

For the study, the researchers analysed data from 20 large observational studies involving 39,740 adults aged 49 to 76 from 10 countries. During the follow-up period, 4,347 new cases of diabetes were identified. Blood samples were collected from the participants and were examined for two main Omega-6 markers- linoleic acid and arachidonic acid.

The analysis of blood samples showed an association between elevated levels of omega-6 and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. The team found that Linoleic acid was significantly associated with lower risk of diabetes, while no such association was found between the levels of arachidonic acid and any risk of diabetes.

“Some scientists have theorized that omega-6 is harmful to health,” said Dr Wu. “But based on this large global study, we have demonstrated little evidence for harms, and indeed found that the major omega-6 fat is linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes.”

“Based on concerns for harm, some countries recommend even lower intakes,” added Dr Wu. “Our results suggest that eating foods rich in linoleic acid may lower risk of type 2 diabetes.”

Those who didn’t know it already, our body does not synthesise Linoleic acid and can only be obtained from the diet.

The findings were published in journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.