Type 2 diabetics have been warned that high-fat meals increase the levels of blood toxins which cause medical complications.
The discovery, which requires confirmation in larger studies, came in research by a team led by Dr Alison Harte of the University of Warwick.
The team said patients with type 2 diabetes should be wary of high fat, low carbohydrate diets which are often promoted for weight loss.
The small study’s findings were presented at the Society for Endocrinology’s annual meeting in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
It is known that all people experience higher levels of endotoxins, which can lead to heart disease, after eating a meal high in saturated fat. The new study found that these levels peak at more than twice as high in people with type 2 diabetes.
They have increased background levels of endotoxin, bacterial fragments which enter the bloodstream from the gut and can cause inflammation and heart disease.
In the latest study, Dr Harte’s team compared the effects of high-fat diet in 54 people of whom 15 were obese, 12 had impaired glucose tolerance, 18 had type 2 diabetes and nine were in a non-obese control group. They monitored blood endotoxin levels for four hours, comparing baseline and post-prandial levels.
She said: “If confirmed in larger studies, our data show that being healthy is not just about losing weight, as these particular diets could increase inflammation in some patients and with it the risk of heart disease.”