Fatty Acids: The Type Of Fat You Eat Could Be Making You Lazy

| April 28, 2017

The health benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are well known. These good fats are hugely important for your body and brain and can help to control your blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity, as I wrote  here. But not all fats are created equal.

Many popular cooking oils and those used in most ‘convenience foods’ are high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Typical members of this group are corn, sunflower, safflower and soya bean oils. And, while these oils are fine in moderation, when they come to dominate your fat intake they could start to endanger your health.

Earlier research has linked high intakes of omega-6 fatty acids with chronic inflammation, heart disease, and several other health problems. And now, it seems that this kind of fat could be making people sedentary and lazy, and contributing to type 2 diabetes, too.

Researchers analysed data from every European country, relating to diet, sedentary activity and type 2 diabetes.1 They found a strong link between sedentary behaviour, such as watching television, and intake of omega-6 fatty acids. This was particularly obvious in the case of pre-teen girls. The data also showed a less pronounced link between omega-6 fats and elevated blood sugar levels in adult women.

Of course, studies of this sort are not conclusive in showing cause and effect – for instance, social factors could influence both dietary choices and levels of physical activity in girls. But evidence from animal studies suggests the link is a real one. Mice fed a diet high in omega-6 from corn oil became lethargic and developed insulin resistance, while those given a diet high in monounsaturated omega-9 from olive oil remained active and healthy.2

The key is to balance out the omega-6 oils you are consuming with omega-3 from oily fish (or a fish oil supplement) and omega-9 from extra-virgin olive oil. Getting this balance right could help to protect against both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In my next blog post, I’ll tell you how German scientists have discovered one reason why having diabetes raises the risk of a heart attack.

Wishing you the best of health,

Martin Hum
PhD DHD Nutritionist
for Real Diabetes Truth

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Bear in mind we are not addressing anyone’s personal situation and you should rely on this for informational purposes only. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


  1. Pither J, Botta A, Maity C, Ghosh S. Analysis using national databases reveals a positive association between dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids with TV watching and diabetes in European females. PLoS One. 2017; 12(3):e0173084.
  1. Wong CK, Botta A, Pither J, Dai C, Gibson WT, Ghosh S. A high-fat diet rich in corn oil reduces spontaneous locomotor activity and induces insulin resistance in mice. J Nutr Biochem. 2015; 26(4):319-326.


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