High Fish Intake May Not Reduce Diabetes Risk

Study does not support protective effect of fish on diabetes; total intake may even increase risk
By A. Agrawal, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The protective effect of total fish, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may not reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to research completed in the Netherlands and published in the November issue of Diabetes Care.

Geertruida J. van Woudenbergh, of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and colleagues examined the association between fish intake and development of type 2 diabetes in 4,472 Dutch adults (55 years and older) using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire.

The researchers found that 463 adults developed type 2 diabetes after 15 years of follow-up. Lean fish accounted for 81 percent of total fish intake. The risk of type 2 diabetes was higher in those with higher total fish consumption compared with non-fish eaters (relative risk, 1.32 for 28 g per day or more) and tended to be higher in those with higher consumption of lean fish (relative risk, 1.30 for 23 g per day or more). Intake of fatty fish, EPA and DHA was not associated with diabetes.

"The findings of this prospective study do not support a protective effect of total fish, type of fish, nor EPA and DHA intake on the development of type 2 diabetes. Total fish intake even appeared to be positively associated with risk of type 2 diabetes in this study," the authors write. "Dietary components and contaminants present in fish should be studied extensively when the potential role of fish in the development of type 2 diabetes is examined further."

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