A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine has revealed how saturated fats — but not unsaturated fats — may lead to insulin resistance and the eventual onset of type 2 diabetes.
Saturated fatty acids have a tendency to activate immune cells in the body which in turn produce inflammatory proteins known as interleukin-1beta.
"The cellular path that mediates fatty acid metabolism is also the one that causes interleukin-1beta production," says senior study co-author Jenny Y. Ting, Ph.D.
The proteins begin attacking the liver, muscle and adipose tissue — or fat — and cause them to become resistant to insulin, leading to the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Results of the study demonstrate why consumers should choose healthy fats like mono- and polyunsaturated fats, found in foods like nuts, olive oil and avocados, over the saturated fats that are found in processed foods and oils.
The American Diabetes Association has reported that 25.8 million children and adults in the country have the blood sugar disorder. Moreover, an additional 79 million are at an elevated risk of the disease.