The Skinny On Fat, Diabetes And Canola Oil. When sauteing, use just enough canola oil to keep the food from sticking to the pan.

Nutritionists say that those looking for a healthier diet would do well to follow the guidelines of a diabetic diet-balance protein and carbohydrates and choose fats wisely.

Fat is necessary to help your body absorb certain vitamins, keep you warm and give you energy. It also helps keep blood sugar levels more consistent when eaten with carbohydrates. But it’s important to choose the right kinds of fat.

Recent studies suggest that replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fats may be a more effective way of lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. These fats protect against heart attacks and strokes by helping to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and control blood glucose.

Canola oil provides a balance of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fats. And it has the lowest amount of saturated fats of any commonly used vegetable oil-half as much as olive oil. It also has a mild flavor that allows other ingredients to shine through.

To start eating better, try this healthy fish dish that is full of flavor yet simple to prepare.

Cumin-Crusted Fish

2-3 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp thyme

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp lemon pepper

1 lb white fish fillets (cod, halibut, etc.)

2 tsp canola oil

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Lemon or lime wedges

1. In a small bowl, mix together cumin, thyme, paprika, salt and lemon pepper.

2. Rub spice mixture on both sides of fillets.

3. In a large skillet set over medium heat, heat canola oil. Add fish fillets and cook until browned on both sides and fish is opaque in center.

4. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with lemon or lime wedges.

Yield: 4 servings

Per serving: calories 130, fat 3.5 g (saturated 0 g), cholesterol 100 mg, protein 22 g, carbohydrate 1 g, fiber >1 g, sodium 410 mg.