25 September 2018A dietary change that may help prevent Type 2 diabetes

Most people are aware that eating sausage & pepperoni pizza, ice cream and lots of butter are not healthy for our hearts or our waistlines. Did you know that these same foods and other foods rich in saturated fat may be increasing the risk for developing diabetes? Foods high in saturated fats may contribute to insulin resistance in the body. This is important, as insulin resistance (defined as the body not using insulin properly) can lead to developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The good news is: replacing foods high in saturated fats with those rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats may in fact reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Read on for some practical tips on how to swap out saturated fats for healthier alternatives.

The type of fat we eat may impact our cell membranes

Eating a diet rich in saturated fats may result in less flexible cell membranes. There is some evidence that the type of dietary fat we ingest impacts the phospholipid composition of cell membranes. Phospholipids form a bilayer which make up the cell membrane and is critical for the functioning of the cell. Thus consuming more mono and polyunsaturated fats may lead to a more flexible cell membrane and may impact insulin resistance.

The American diet is full of saturated fat. Here are some of the most common sources:

  • Cheese, full fat
  • Sausage, bacon
  • Fatty red meats such as rib eye
  • Whole milk
  • Ice cream
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Lard
  • Coconut oil
  • Palm oil
  • Palm kernel oil

Try swapping out saturated fats for fats rich in mono and polyunsaturated fats such as these:

  • Nuts
  • Nut butters
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oils
  • Tofu
  • Soybeans
  • Flaxseeds
  • Cold water fish

My favorite Saturated Fat Hacks:

  • Avocado on my turkey sandwich in place of cheddar cheese
  • Salmon steak instead of rib eye steak
  • Walnut crusted chicken breast instead of fried chicken
  • Plain soymilk in my coffee in place of half and half
  • Peanut Butter on my homemade waffles in place of butter
  • Baking with canola oil and applesauce in place of butter for quick breads
  • Cashew Milk ice cream in place of milk-based ice cream (I like So Delicious®)

Curious about your total fat intake and where your fat is coming from? MyNetDiary allows you to track where your fat is coming from. And if you have Premium membership, you can also view and print nutrition reports where total fat is broken down into saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fat. See Analysis tab in the web program for more information.


At the end of the day, the healthiest diet to prevent Type 2 diabetes includes maintaining or achieving a healthy body weight, decreasing intake of of simple sugars, eating whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables and healthy fats. This, in addition to getting in 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week and visiting your doctor to monitor other health parameters are sure to make a difference!

Joanna Kriehn is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator with a passion for supporting individuals as they move towards a healthier lifestyle. You can learn more about Joanna by visiting her LinkedIn page

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Diabetes/Preventing Diabetes Nutrients/Fats

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