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Omega-3 fats do not improve blood sugar control or reduce the risk of diabetes.
While eating more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of heart attack, that doesn't seem to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, according to a study published Aug. 24 in The BMJ.
Prompted by past findings that this type of healthy fat might reduce diabetes risk and improve blood sugar (glucose) control, researchers decided to look further into the issue.
They reviewed 83 randomized trials involving more than 120,000 people, both with and without diabetes. Each trial went on for six months or longer.
These trials looked at whether increasing consumption of omega-3 fats (derived from fish or plants), omega-6 fats (such as those in soybean or corn oil), or total polyunsaturated fats could help lower blood glucose or reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
They found that increasing the amount of omega-3, omega-6, or total polyunsaturated fats in the diet over an average study period of nearly three years didn't seem to have any effect on glucose metabolism or diabetes risk.
It didn't matter whether the additional healthy fats came from supplements, enriched foods, or foods that were naturally rich in these fats.