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Thursday 27th October 2016

Nuts linked to blood sugar control

12th July 2011

People who choose to snack on nuts, rather than on carbohydrate-based foods like bread or cereal, may have better control over their blood sugar levels.


The researchers found that people who had type 2 diabetes could also possibly benefit by changing their snack foods.

On the other hand, people who swapped a wholemeal muffin for their usual carbohydrate-based snackfood did not significantly alter their blood sugar or cholesterol levels.

Cyril Kendall, of the University of Toronto in Canada, said that while the finding did not mean that nuts were the key to diabetes prevention, it did show that nuts could be part of a healthy diet.

He said that people needed to understand that the fats found in nuts were healthy, and that they had been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.

The fact that nuts are high in calories means that, while they are healthy, people should be careful about how they eat them.

Kendall said that people should use nuts to displace some of the less healthy snacks they might have.

Of the 117 study subjects, the researchers randomly assigned about one third to a snacking diet of unsalted mixed nuts.

The second group of study subjects substituted whole wheat muffins, and the third group ate a half-amount of both snackfoods.

The group that ate nuts ate 2 ounces of them per day, adding up to nearly 500 calories.

The researchers noted that the group that snacked on nuts every day had slightly better control over their blood sugar than the group that did not.

The group that ate nuts showed a 0.2% dip in levels of haemoglobin A1C.

Kendall said that the figure of 0.2% was very close to being clinically significant, and that the results might have been more pronounced if the subjects were not already taking diabetes medication.

The group that ate nuts also experienced a modest decline in LDL cholesterol, from just below the optimal level at 97 mg per decilitre to 89 mg per decilitre.

The other two groups of study subjects did not show any signs of improving.

Kendall said that, while the unsaturated fats were an obvious health benefit, the protein, fibre and polyphenols in nuts may have also played a role.

He also said that, for people who would rather not eat nuts, other sources of unsaturated fats such as olive oil and avocadoes would be a wise choice of snack.


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