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Good and Healthy Fats : Role in Insulin resistance?

December 3, 2020

Fat is a type of nutrient, and just like protein and carbohydrates, the body needs some fat for energy, to absorb vitamins, and to protect the heart and brain health. For many years there was saying as eating fat will add inches to your waistline, raise cholesterol, and cause health problems. But today we know that not all fats are the same.

“Bad” fats, like artificial trans fats and saturated fats, are guilty of the unhealthy things all fats are blamed for—weight gain, clogged arteries, an increased risk of certain diseases and so forth. But “good” fats like unsaturated fats and omega-3s have the other effect. In fact, healthy fats play a huge role in helping you manage your moods, stay on top of your mental game, fight fatigue, even control your weight and insulin resistance.

Let's know about a few basic terms to understand the article in a simple way.

What is Insulin?

It is an hormone that the pancreas makes, allows cells to absorb up and use glucose.

What is Insulin resistance?

A pathological condition during which cells fail to reply/ respond  normally to the hormone insulin. Insulin resistance is the pathogenic link underlying the different metabolic abnormalities clustering in the metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes ,etc). It can be induced by different environmental factors, including dietary habits.

What is insulin sensitivity?

Insulin sensitivity refers to how sensitive the body's cells are in response to insulin. High insulin sensitivity allows the cells of the body to use blood sugar more effectively, reducing blood glucose.

What are called as “Good fats”?

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are referred to as the “good fats” because they're good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health. These fats can help to: Lower the danger of heart condition and stroke. Lower bad LDL cholesterol levels, while increasing good HDL.

What are known as “Bad Fats”?

Saturated fats that are linked to increased atherosclerosis, and a poor lipid profile.

Examples: Saturated fats, trans fats.

Well this article will hep you all to find what the correct correlation of healthy fats and insulin resistance is.

Insulin resistance starts in the hypothalamus causing a disruption in the balance of satiety and hunger signals. This leads to overconsumption of calories.

Although excess calories can be theoretically stored safely in the adipose tissue, as the inflammation increases in this organ and insulin resistance develop in the fat cells, the ability to safely store excess fat is compromised.

One of the consequences of insulin resistance in the adipose tissue is that excess fat is released into the bloodstream and is hidden by other organs (liver and skeletal muscles) that aren't equipped to securely store this excess fat. This is the start of lipotoxicity. With increased lipotoxicity, the metabolism and energy generation becomes compromised, and the development of chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, and poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) associated with insulin resistance becomes accelerated. The levels of fat in the diet and the composition of those fatty acids in the fat component can have a significant role in the modulation of insulin resistance.

Epidemiological evidence and intervention studies clearly show that in humans saturated fat significantly worsen insulin-resistance, while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids improve it through modifications. Many studies support that preventing and treating diseases, metabolic disorder by eating more fat-rich foods like walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybeans, flax-seed, fish, and other vegetable oils and spreads, in place of refined grains, starches, sugars, and animal fats, will help to extend insulin sensitivity and improve the health.


Stating some positive and negative effect of fats.

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Positive effect of Good Fats

  1. High intake of unsaturated fats from fish reduces the risk, and the monounsaturated fatty acid oleate (found in nuts, olive and avocado) actually increases insulin sensitivity, compared with high saturated fat and high-carb diets.
  2. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids improve it through modifications within the composition of cell membranes, which reflect a minimum of partially dietary fat composition.

Examples of good fats :

A )Monounsaturated fat – sources include:

Olive, peanut, and sesame oils, OlivesNuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, cashews)

B ) Polyunsaturated fat –sources include:

Sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds, Flaxseed, Walnuts Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines) and fish oilSoybean and safflower oil

Negative effects of fats:

  1. High intakes of saturated fats from processed foods become toxic, causing inflammation and oxidative stress in human adipose tissue, leading to impairment of mitochondrial function and insulin signaling, and consequently insulin resistance.
  2. In addition, the inflammatory response from high intake of processed food may be made worse when the individual is overweight or obese.

Must Read: Nutrition during Pregnancy

Example : excess consumption Red meat (beef, lamb, pork), Chicken skin, palm oil, trans fats, re-used oils, vanaspati etc.

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Tips for adding more healthy fats to your diet :

  1. Cooking tips : replace fried chicken with grilled chicken, swapping out some of the red meat you eat with other sources of protein such as fish, chicken, or beans, paneer or buy leaner cuts.
  2. Try to eliminate trans fats from your diet : Check food labels for trans fats, before buying the food stuff Avoid vanaspati and hydrogenated fats as much as possible.
  3. Limit your intake of saturated fats by replacing the excessive consumption of fatty meat you eat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish, and switching from full fat milk to lower fat versions. But don’t make the mistake of replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates and sugary foods.
  4. Eat omega-3 fats every day. Include a variety of fish sources as well as plant sources such as walnuts,flax seeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds and soybean oil.
  5. Reach for the nuts. You can add nuts to vegetable dishes, add them in curd ,  add them in chicken or fish preparation , or make your own trail mix with nuts and oil seeds.
  6. Dress your salad: Create your own healthy dressings with olive, flaxseed, chia seeds or canola and sesame seed

rticle by

Shivani Bavalekar


Cloudnine Kalyaninagar


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