Daily consumption of nuts could assist in controlling Type 2 diabetes and preventing its complications, says a new study that appeared in the Diabetes Care online journal.
The research was conducted under the supervision of Canada’s Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism, Dr. David Jenkins, and found that eating 2 ounces of nuts every day in place of carbohydrates helped in controlling glycemic levels as well as serum lipids in Type 2 diabetics.
According to Dr. Jenkins, who is also associated with the St. Michael’s Hospital Risk Factor Modification Centre and University of Toronto Department of Nutritional Sciences, “Mixed, unsalted, raw, or dry-roasted nuts have benefits for both blood glucose control and blood lipids and may be used as part of a strategy to improve diabetes control without weight gain.”
The research team gave 3 different diet supplements to the study participants. One group was provided with muffins, one was given a mixture of nuts including raw almonds, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamias, cashews, and pecans, and one group was provided with a muffin-nut mixture.
The type 2 diabetics who were given the mixture of nuts showed the biggest improvement in controlling blood glucose using the glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test. There was also a reduction in LDL (bad cholesterol) in those subjects. The other two groups did not report any significant improvements in gylcemic control; however, those who were provided with both muffins and nuts also considerably lowered their serum LDL levels.
According to Dr. Jenkins, “Those receiving the full dose of nuts reduced their HbA1c [the long-term marker of glycemic control] by two-thirds of what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognizes as being clinically meaningful for therapeutic agents. Furthermore, neither in the current study nor in previous reports has nut consumption been associated with weight gain. If anything, nuts appear to be well suited as part of weight-reducing diets.”
He concluded: “The study indicates that nuts can provide a specific food option for people with Type 2 diabetes wishing to reduce their carbohydrate intake.”