- Yesterday, a new study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology revealed that a diet rich in omega-6 fatty acids may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by more than a third.
- Omega-6 (found in Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds) is essential for good health, and linked to improved brain function and bone health.
- But, it’s important to note that too much omega-6 is also linked to inflammation and heart disease.
In Australia, more than one million people have type 2 diabetes and it’s one of the biggest health issues faced by our healthcare system.
So, when we saw that new research had been released linking omega-6 intake to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, we were naturally keen to find out more.
Previously, we’ve covered the importance of consuming both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a healthy ratio. To recap, research suggests that this ratio should be around 1:1 but due to an abundance of vegetable oils and processed foods in our diets, the ratio these days is more like 16:1. It’s this imbalance that can have a detrimental effect on our health.
This new study followed nearly 40,000 people from 10 countries between 1970–2010, and observed that those with higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids in their blood were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
While this evidence is interesting, there’s no indication in the study as to the dietary and lifestyle factors of the participants over the forty year period, and even the researchers themselves caution that this research is purely observational.
While we continue to just eat real food and can reap the benefits of consuming a healthy ratio of these fatty acids, we still urge our community to be wary of omega-6 fatty acids in vegetable oils and processed foods which are linked to a plethora of health concerns.
Our nutritionist, Liv, says “Don’t get too bogged down about specific levels of fatty acids. If you just JERF (and avoid vegetable oils), you’ll be able to maintain a healthy level of these fatty acids. We have always encouraged the consumption of a variety of fats including nuts and seeds.”