(HealthDay News) — Among older adults, specific trans fatty acids may be associated with diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

Qianyi Wang, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined the effects of trans fatty acids on type 2 diabetes by specific trans fatty acid subtype or method of assessment. 

Plasma phospholipid trans (t)-16:1n9, t-18:1 and cis (c)/t-, t/c-, and t/t-18:2 were measured in blood drawn from 2,919 adults (age, 74 years) free from diabetes in 1992 who were enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study. Dietary Trans Fatty Acid was estimated among 4,207 adults free of prevalent diabetes in 1989 or 1996.

The researchers found that during 30,825 person-years of follow-up, there were 287 diabetes cases in biomarker analyses. 

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After adjustment for de novo lipogenesis fatty acids, t-16:1n9 and t-18:1 levels correlated with higher incident diabetes. In the dietary analyses, during 50,105 person-years there were 407 diabetes cases. 

Incident diabetes correlated positively with total trans fatty acid consumption and with consumption of t-18:1 and t-18:2. The correlations of estimated dietary trans fatty acids with diabetes were attenuated and no longer significant after adjustment for other dietary habits.

“These findings highlight the need for further observational, interventional, and experimental studies of the effects [trans fatty acids] on [diabetes],” the researchers wrote.

One author disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical, food, and nutrition industries.


  1. Wang Q et al. Diabetes Care. 2015;38(6):1099-1107.