Something Smells Fishy


This past week I came across two fish related studies.  The first, published in Diabetes Care concludes that fish consumption may be beneficial for reducing risk of diabetes. Greater shellfish intake, however, seems to be associated with an increased risk of diabetes.

The second study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, kind of threw me off, since it concludes there isn’t evidence that higher consumption of fish reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Instead, it says higher intakes may slightly increase the incidence of diabetes.

My first thought on all of this was (forgive me, I can’t resist): something smells fishy.  Then I proceeded to panic, for no good reason. Since I already have diabetes, I shouldn’t be worried about reducing risk of it, or being at an increased risk for it.  But nonetheless, there was fish-related panic on my plate.  Good for me, or not good for me?  I figured the best thing to do was to turn to someone who can think clearly and wisely about many things, including baffling fish studies.  I asked Dr. Mariela Glandt to help me make sense of this.  Here’s what she said:

The study in Diabetes Care looks carefully at the different types of fish, and even concludes that shellfish is associated with an increased risk of diabetes.  The other study which says too much fish is bad for you lumps all the fish together.  It does not break it down into different types of fish, and specifically looks at long chain fatty acids.  There are too many confounding factors to make any statements of comparison between the two studies. Would I recommend fish? Definitely. Long chain fatty acids and vitamin D are known to have good benefits.  I would recommend less shellfish.

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13 years ago

I always am so confused by these new studies.  It helps to have that balanced view from Dr. Mar. Thank you!

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