Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Fast-Food Fat Buster May Drop Diabetes Risk

Additive Could Help Avoid Type 2 Diabetes -- but Not Cut Calories

Targeting Saturated Fat

Yokoyama sees a link between saturated fat and type 2 diabetes. "We're interested in preventing type 2 diabetes," he tells WebMD.

When people eat a lot of saturated fats at once, the body can get overwhelmed, he explains.

"In more detail, we think saturated fats will block the transport of glucose (blood sugar) from the bloodstream into tissues," says Yokoyama. That raises blood sugar levels, driving up demand for insulin to handle the blood sugar spike.

Polyunsaturated fats -- found in plant-based foods -- don't have the same effect, he adds. The researchers fed hamsters a diet high in saturated or polyunsaturated fats. The saturated-fat hamsters developed insulin resistance, but the polyunsaturated group didn't.

A saturated fat binge can also swamp parts of the body not designed for the overload. That includes the liver, heart, and pancreas; pancreatic damage can lead to diabetes, the news release states.

Testing HPMC

For years, Yokoyama and colleagues looked for a solution using natural fiber from oats and barley. When that didn't work as they hoped, they shifted gears.

"Those natural [fibers] are kind of fragile," he explains. "We were looking for something a little more stable and more easily controlled, and so we thought we would try HPMC."

They fed a group of hamsters a high-fat diet similar to what many Americans eat. The hamsters got about 38% of their calories from fat and developed insulin resistance. Meanwhile, hamsters on a low-fat diet didn't become insulin resistant.

A third group of hamsters got a saturated fat diet with HPMC. This time, the hamsters didn't get insulin resistance.

However, they did gain a bit more weight than hamsters on a healthier diet. Exactly how HPMC works isn't known, but scientists guess it may slow down fat absorption.

HPMC is made by the Dow Chemical Company, but the study was entirely funded by the USDA. Yokoyama presented the findings in San Diego, at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society. He credits his colleagues, including the University of Minnesota's chemical engineering and materials science professor Wei-Shou Hu, PhD, for their work.

1 | 2

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner