The triglyceride-lowering effects of ω-3 fats and HDL cholesterol-raising effects of exercise may be appropriate management for dyslipidemia in NIDDM. However, fish oil may impair glycemic control in NIDDM. The present study examined the effects of moderate aerobic exercise and the incorporation of fish into a low-fat (30% total energy) diet on serum lipids and glycemic control in dyslipidemic NIDDM patients.
In a controlled, 8-week intervention, 55 sedentary NIDDM subjects with serum triglycerides > 1.8 mmol/l and/or HDL cholesterol < 1.0 mmol/l were randomly assigned to a low-fat diet (30% daily energy intake) with or without one fish meal daily (3.6 g ω-3/day) and further randomized to a moderate (55–65% VO2max) or light (heart rate < 100 bpm) exercise program. An oral glucose tolerance test (75 g), fasting serum glucose, insulin, lipids, and GHb were measured before and after intervention. Self-monitoring of blood glucose was performed throughout.
In the 49 subjects who completed the study, moderate exercise improved aerobic fitness (VO2max) by 12% (from 1.87 to 2.07 l/min, P = 0.0001). Fish consumption reduced triglycerides (0.80 mmol/l, P = 0.03) and HDL3 cholesterol (0.05 mmol/l, P = 0.02) and increased HDL2 cholesterol (0.06 mmol/l, P = 0.01). After adjustment for age, sex, and changes in body weight, fish diets were associated with increases in GHb (0.50%, P = 0.05) and self-monitored glucose (0.57 mmol/l, P = 0.0002), which were prevented by moderate exercise.
A reduced fat diet incorporating one daily fish meal reduces serum triglycerides and increases HDL2 cholesterol in dyslipidemic NIDDM patients. Associated deterioration in glycemic control can be prevented by a concomitant program of moderate exercise.