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Increased fish intakes may reduce diabetes risk

November 23, 2011

The consumption of fish is linked to lower glucose concentrations and a smaller risk of developing diabetes in populations with high cardiovascular disease risk, suggests a new Spanish study.

The observational study analyzed the dietary patterns of 945 Spanish adults between 55 and 80 years of age with a high cardiovascular risk to understand the correlation between the Mediterranean diet and its association with cardiovascular risk factors (1). The study results showed that the participants ate a large amount of red meat and fish. The high intake of saturated fats from red and cured meat consumption (7.4 to 4.7 times a week) was more frequent for men. Women ate more white meat, especially chicken and turkey. As for fish consumption (4.5 to 2.6 times a week), no significant differences were found between men and women. In general, women scored higher for healthy dietary patterns or healthy diets compared to men.

The researchers commented that eating red meat in excess can been linked to higher cardiovascular risk, higher blood pressure, diabetes, and a moderate decrease in life expectancy, mainly due to cancer or heart disease. In contrast, fish, which is more frequent in the Mediterranean diet, is reported to have health benefits for the heart. In the study, fish, both white and, to an even greater degree, oily fish was associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes type 2. According to a hypothesis, the increase of omega-3 fatty acids in the cells of the skeletal muscles may improve insulin sensitivity.

References

  1. Sotos-Prieto M. et al. Consumo de carne y pescado en población mediterránea española de edad avanzada y alto riesgo cardiovascular. Nutrición Hospitalaria. 2011; 26(5):1033–1040.