Fish, Heart Disease, and Diabetes

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In past studies, fish oil has been shown to significantly reduce the incidence of heart disease, but a new study from the Netherlands indicates that for people with diabetes, this may not be the case. The study, published in the July 1993 issue of Diabetes Care, took place over a 16 year period and included 272 people from the town of Rotterdam, 27 of whom had diabetes and 56 with glucose intolerance. Fish intake was the equivalent of 1 meal of fish per week.

Although the results show an immediate reduction in the risk of heart disease in nondiabetic participants, it is ten years before any reduction is seen in people with diabetes, and even then it’s not statistically significant. In light of the fact that fish oil has been linked to the deterioration of glycemic control in people with NIDDM, you should consult your doctor before incorporating it into your diet. According to the researchers, though, a recommendation of one dish of fish per week for someone with diabetes can be supported, although its main value is the reduction of saturated fat intake.

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