TYPE 2 DIABETES: Oily fish 'increases risk' of developing condition, experts argue
EATING a portion of salmon, mackerel or sardines a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by a 25 per cent, scientists have revealed.
Oily fish, rich in omega 3, has become a keystone in recommendations for a healthy Mediterranean diet, warding off a range of conditions from heart disease to dementia, according to nutritionists.
But a study of more than 70,000 women found those who ate the most increased their risk of developing diabetes by more than a quarter, compared to those who ate the least.
Oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are said to boost brain power, keep hearts healthy and strengthen bones.
But experts set out to investigate any links between fish and type 2 diabetes, the form of the condition which is linked to being obese.
French scientists followed 71,334 women for 14 years and found the top third consuming the most omega-3 – 1.6g a day – roughly a portion of sardines or salmon – had a 26 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to the lowest third – less than 1.3g per day.
This was after taking into account other factors such as other fatty acid groups and BMI (body mass index).
Dr Guy Fagherazzi, of University Paris-Saclay, Villejuif, France, said: “Despite evidence suggesting high intake of PUFAs, especially omega-3 PUFAs, as beneficial for cardiovascular health, based off our results we could not recommend a high consumption of either as beneficial for type 2 diabetes prevention.”
The expert presented the findings at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting in Munich.
He said they show eating certain fatty acids is linked with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women, despite them being vital sources of energy and important components of our diets.
The participants were taking part in a study initiated in 1990 to investigate the risk factors associated with cancer and other major non-communicable diseases in women.
A link was also identified in non-overweight women with a BMI below 25 with those who ate the most oily fish up to 22 per cent more likely to develop diabetes.
Meanwhile, high omega-3 consumption was associated with a 19 percent increased risk of diabetes among overweight women.
Closer examination also showed high consumption of an omega-3 fatty acid called DPA (docosapentaenoic acid), also found in red meat as well as oily fish, increased the risk of diabetes in non-overweight and overweight women by 45 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively.
The main sources of DPA were found in meat and fish.
Dr Guy Fagherazzi, of University Paris-Saclay, Villejuif, France, said: “Different polyunsaturated fatty acids appear to have different effects regarding the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“A high consumption of docosapentaenoic acid and arachidonic acid may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.”
He added: “We wouldn’t necessarily recommend cutting these sources out of our diet, but perhaps diminishing meat intake, as it is often consumed in quantities much greater than our nutritional requirements.”
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