The impact of dietary fat on the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been extensively studied in recent decades. Solid evidence indicates that replacing saturated fatty acids (SFAs) with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) decreases blood cholesterol levels and prevents CVD and CVD mortality. Studies indicate that fat quality also may affect insulin sensitivity and hence, the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). A high intake of SFAs has shown to increase the risk of T2D in prospective studies, while a high intake of PUFAs reduces the risk. Whether PUFAs from marine or vegetable sources affect glycemic regulation differently in T2D remains to be elucidated. The aim of the present review was therefore to summarize research on human randomized, controlled intervention studies investigating the effect of dietary PUFAs on glycemic regulation in T2D. About half of the studies investigating the effect of fish, fish oils, vegetable oils, or nuts found changes related to glycemic control in people with T2D, while the other half found no effects. Even though some of the studies used SFA as controls, the majority of the included studies compared PUFAs of different quality. Considering that both marine and vegetable oils are high in PUFAs and hence both oils may affect glycemic regulation, the lack of effect in several of the included studies may be explained by the use of an inappropriate control group. It is therefore not possible to draw a firm conclusion, and more studies are needed.
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