Fatty acid intake and its dietary sources in relation with markers of type 2 diabetes risk: The NEO study

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The aim of this study was to examine the relations between intakes of total, saturated, mono-unsaturated, poly-unsaturated and trans fatty acids (SFA, MUFA, PUFA and TFA), and their dietary sources (dairy, meat and plant) with markers of type 2 diabetes risk.


This was a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data of 5675 non-diabetic, middle-aged participants of the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study. Associations between habitual dietary intake and fasting and postprandial blood glucose and insulin, Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR), HOMA of β-cell function (HOMA-B) and Disposition Index were assessed through multivariable linear regression models with adjustments for demographic, lifestyle and dietary factors.


Mean (s.d.) intakes in percent of energy (En%) were 34.4 (5.8) for total fatty acids, 12.4 (2.9) for SFA, 12.2 (2.4) for MUFA, 6.9 (1.9) for PUFA and 0.6 (0.2) for TFA. As compared with carbohydrates, only SFA was weakly inversely associated with fasting insulin, HOMA-IR and HOMA-B. When stratified by dietary source, all fatty acids from meat were positively associated with fasting insulin — total fatty acidsmeat (per 5 En%: 10.0%; 95% confidence interval: 4.0, 16.3), SFAmeat (per 1 En%: 3.7%; 0.4, 7.2), MUFAmeat (per 1 En%: 5.0%; 2.0, 8.1), PUFAmeat (per 1 En%: 17.3%; 6.0, 29.7) and TFAmeat (per 0.1 En%: 10.5%; 3.2, 18.3). Similarly, all fatty acids from meat were positively associated with HOMA-IR and HOMA-B and inversely with Disposition Index.


Our study suggests that the relations between fatty acid intakes and markers of type 2 diabetes risk may depend on the dietary sources of the fatty acids. More epidemiological studies on diet and cardiometabolic disease are needed, addressing possible interactions between nutrients and their dietary sources.

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