This post is part of a larger piece on diabetes and health presented in collaboration with the Kettering Health Network Joslin Diabetes Center. Click here to read it from the beginning.
Managing Diabetes: Understanding Fats and Oils
In addition to recommending fruits and vegetables along with other healthy sources of fiber and avoiding excess salt, Studer talked about the various kinds of fats that should be eaten and avoided. The basic rule of thumb, according to Studer, is to eat oils while avoiding solid fats. The most important fats to eat are monounsaturated fats, which can be found in products such as corn oil and safflower oil, and polyunsaturated fats, which can be found in less common oils such as olive oil and peanut oil. These fats can actually help lower cholesterol. Saturated fats, usually animal fats, should be avoided as much as possible because they can contribute to plaque build-up in arteries.
“When you eat a chicken breast you are going to get some saturated fat,” said Studer. “But, you are going to get a lot less than if you eat a steak. I treat steak like a treat, like you would ice cream.”
The most important fat to avoid is trans-fat. This is liquid fat that has been made solid through a man-made process. Ingredients with words such as “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” should be avoided. Trans-fats are listed separately on food labels, though certain foods contain a low enough amount that manufacturers are not required to list it.
The bottom line is fat is high calories and should be eaten in moderation. However, foods such as avocado and peanuts can be very healthy when consumed responsibly.
“Don’t be afraid of fat,” said Studer. “Just remember to eat it in moderation.”