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Dietary fat and risk of type 2 diabetes

Schlesinger, Sabrinaa; Schwingshackl, Lukasb; Neuenschwander, Manuelaa

doi: 10.1097/MOL.0000000000000567
NUTRITION AND METABOLISM: Edited by Frank M. Sacks and Majken K. Jensen

Purpose of review Nutrition recommendations emphasize that not only dietary fat quantity but also fat quality plays a role in the prevention of type 2 diabetes (T2D). The aim of this review is to summarize the evidence for dietary fat and risk of T2D, to highlight recent findings and point out future research directions.

Recent findings Total fat intake was not associated with risk of T2D, whereas the findings on fatty acids (FAs) and risk of T2D were controversial. Recent findings suggested that FAs from the same classes (e.g. omega-6 FAs) but different sources might be differently associated with the risk of T2D, with indication for an association with lower risk of T2D for plant-based and higher risk/no association for animal-based FAs. In addition, differences between populations from different geographic areas might exist, but no interaction effects for fat intake and genetic predisposition were observed regarding T2D risk. The simultaneous investigation of different fats and dietary patterns can provide important and meaningful insights into these associations.

Summary The evidence for the association between dietary fat intake and risk of T2D is not conclusive yet. To strengthen the evidence, the complexity of the different associations of dietary fats should be considered in well conducted future studies.

aInstitute for Biometrics and Epidemiology, German Diabetes Center, Leibniz Center for Diabetes Research at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf

bDepartment of Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke (DIfE), Nuthetal, Germany

Correspondence to Sabrina Schlesinger, PhD, Institute for Biometrics and Epidemiology, German Diabetes Center (DDZ), Auf’m Hennekamp 65, Düsseldorf 40225, Germany. Tel: +49 211 3382 231; e-mail:

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