Expert Q&A

Fats: Best Fats for a Diabetic's Diet

What are the healthiest fats for diabetics to eat?

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy fats. When eaten in moderation, these fats may help lower your total cholesterol, decreasing both the number of Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) as well as triglycerides.

When substituted for saturated fats or trans fats, healthy fats help decrease a diabetic's elevated risk of heart disease. In addition to lowering cholesterol, monounsaturated fats also improve blood glucose control.

Monounsaturated fats are found in:

  • Avocados
  • Canola oil
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, and peanuts)
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Peanut butter and peanut oil
  • Sesame seeds.

Polyunsaturated fats are found in:

  • Corn
  • Cottonseed, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oils
  • Fish
  • Flax seeds
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts.

Please note that each of the items listed above contain a combination of mono-, poly-, and saturated fats. As a result, although replacing butter with a canola oil spread will decrease your overall saturated fat intake, you will still be consuming the other fats. Another thing to note is that all fats are high in calories. Hence, when eaten in excess, they contribute to weight gain and heart disease.

Megan Porter, RD/LD
Contributing Expert

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