For the last 30 years, trans fats, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, have been added to almost every packaged food in the United States. Even foods that claim to be trans fats free have these dangerous fats hidden within. Check the ingredients; if partially hydrogenated oils (such as canola, soybean, or sunflower oils) are listed, then the food will most likely contain trans fats.
Refined oils such as canola, soybean, sunflower and safflower oil are heated and deodorized in the production process. When heated, the fatty acids in these oils transform into trans-fats.
Trans fats are thick and glue-like fats, which clog up the cell membranes, preventing glucose and nutrients from entering the cells.
Omega 3 fats help our cells maintain a fluid plasma cell membrane, making it easy for glucose and nutrients to enter our cells. But, when trans fats are consumed, they replace the Omega 3 fats in the cell membranes, thereby inhibiting the transport of glucose into the cells. When glucose cannot enter the cells, blood sugar and insulin levels will rise.
Not only do oils such as canola, soybean, sunflower, corn, and safflower oils contain trans fats, but they also contain Omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 6 worsens diabetes, and trans fats make the cell membranes very hard, thereby preventing the entry of glucose into the cells. Without glucose, the cells starve and blood sugar will rise.
Additionally, trans fats increase breast cancer risk by more than 45%. Trans fats also raise bad cholesterol and reduce HDL cholesterol. Consumption of trans fats have been linked to heart attacks, as much as saturated animal fats*. Margarine which is high in trans fats, should be avoided.
Most oils are not stable when exposed to heat during the cooking process. Coconut oil, on the other hand, will not oxidize upon heating, making it the safest oil for home cooking. However, it must be extra virgin, Cold Pressed Coconut Oil (avoid hydrogenated coconut oil). Coconut oil has the added benefit of stabilizing blood sugar levels. To reach these protective levels between 3-5 tablespoons of coconut oil should be consumed raw per day.
Diabetics should increase their intake of Omega-3 fats which can be found in nuts, seeds, and greens. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for maintaining proper cell membrane flexibility. Omega-3's have been shown to dramatically improve insulin receptor function. Omega-3's reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving blood flow, and have anti-inflammatory properties. Hemp seeds, Chia seeds, and ground Flax seeds are naturally high in Omega-3s fatty acids.
Cold Pressed Olive oil can be used on salads as dressing (in moderate amounts). Hemp oil and Sesame oil can be used also be used to dress salads, although nuts, seeds, and avocados in their natural whole form offer more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than their oils plus less calories.
In conclusion, while Diabetics should avoid certain fats, healthy fats and oils are absolutely necessary for maintaining good health.
Leah M. is the author of "The Kosher Gut Plan- Reboot Your Digestive System Naturally". The book describes in detail alternative treatments, healing foods and recipes for IBS, Colitis, and Crohns. Her book is available for sale on Amazon.