The fatty acid pattern of the cell membranes is essentially influenced by the alimentary intake of fatty acids. The fatty acid composition of the cell membranes on the other hand has a considerable effect on the sensitivity of the insulin receptors.
Meat and sausage contain a relatively high number of saturated fatty acids. Several studies have shown that a high intake of saturated fatty acids reduces insulin sensitivity and promotes insulin resistance. (29-32)
The Western diet with its high intake of fat and saturated fatty acids is a considerable risk factor for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. It is well-known that insulin resistance leads to hyperinsulinism. Chronically raised insulin levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and for various kinds of tumors.
The adherents of the Atkins diet (plenty of meat and fat) claim that the advantages of this diet are due to a diminished insulin response which facilitates weight reduction. In fact, food rich in protein leads to an above-average insulin response surpassing its glycemic index. (33)
- Vessby B: Diatary fat and insulin action in humans; Br J Nutr 2000 mar; 83 Suppl 1:S91-6
- Vessby B et al: Substituting dietary saturated for monounsaturated fat impairs insulin sensitivity in healthy men and women: The KANWU Study; Diabetologia 2001 Mar; 44(3): 312-9
- Van Dam RM et al: Dietary fat and meat intake in relation to risk of type 2 diabetes in men; Diabetes Care 2002 Mar; 25(3): 417-24
- Mann JI: Diet and risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes; Lancet 2002 Sep 7; 360(9335): 783-9
- Holt SH et al: An insulin index of foods: the insulin dmand generated by 1000-kJ portions of common foods; Am J Clin Nutr 1997 Nov; 66(5): 1264-76