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Sep 27, 2011

Control Type 2 Diabetes by Including Nuts in Diet

Recent research from St. Michael's Hospital and University of Toronto reveals that regular intake of nuts can make a real difference in people with Type 2 diabetes. Two ounces of this food every day eaten in place of carbohydrates proved helpful in controlling blood sugar and serum lipids.

In this study, 117 people with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to one of three groups for 3 months. Different dietary supplements were given to each group, totaling 475 kcal per 2,000-kcal diet. The first group received mixed nuts (including raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, and macadamias), the second group received muffins, and the last group was given a combination of muffins and mixed nuts.

Based on glycosylated hemoglobin measurement, a long-term marker for blood sugar control also known as HbA1c, participants in the first group (nuts only) showed the most improvement in blood sugar control. Serum LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels in this group also improved. In both the muffin and combination groups, there was no significant change in control of blood sugar, however, the combination group did experience a substantial lowering of serum LDL.

According to lead researcher, Dr. David Jenkins, participants in the nuts-only group lowered their glycosylated hemoglobin by two-thirds the level the FDA considers to be clinically meaningful for therapeutic agents.  Dr. Jenkins also pointed out that nuts appear to be well suited as part of weight-reducing diets.” This is contrary to the popular belief that consumption of nuts automatically contributes to weight gain.

Nuts are a valuable source of protein, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and other important nutrients. Those of us looking to balance blood sugar and improve lipids may want to consider replacing some of those daily carbohydrates with a handful of mixed nuts.

Dr. Shana McQueen