People who at risk for developing type 2 diabetes may be able to prevent the disease by lowering their dietary fat intake. Impaired glucose tolerance is a decline in the body's ability to remove sugar from the blood and use it for fuel. This condition is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
Weight gain also greatly boosts a person's diabetes risk. Researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand conducted a one-year trial to determine if people with impaired glucose tolerance could improve their glucose tolerance and lose weight by cutting down on fat consumption.
The investigators instructed 136 people to lower their fat intake or follow their regular diet for one year. The researchers weighed and measured all patients up to 5 years later. After one year, the patients who stuck with the low-fat diet lost more weight. And while 47% of patients who reduced their fat intake had impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes, 67% of patients in the other group did. Individuals on low-fat diets were also exercising more.
The effects of the low fat diet were lasting for the 50% of participants who adhered most closely to the low-fat diet. These individuals had lower blood glucose levels five years after the trial began than the patients who were not on the diet.
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