Nuts over carbs is a healthy swap for blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes

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A recent study from the University of Toronto has highlighted the potential health benefits of nuts for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

The research, led by David J A Jenkins and published in Diabetologia, suggests that replacing carbohydrates with nuts could aid in controlling blood sugar and reducing cholesterol levels.

Nuts, being simple dry fruits with edible kernels encased in a hard shell, are not only tasty but also packed with nutrients. Varieties like almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios are common choices.

They’re known for their ability to regulate weight and mitigate the risk of chronic diseases due to their unsaturated fats, fibers, and essential nutrients.

The study focused on older adults with type 2 diabetes who were already on oral glucose-lowering medications.

It involved 117 participants who followed one of three diets over a three-month period: a full-dose nut diet consisting of 75 grams of mixed nuts daily, a full-dose muffin diet that included three whole-wheat muffins matching the protein content and carbohydrate energy of the nuts, and a half-dose nut diet that included portions of both nuts and muffins.

Findings revealed that those on the full-dose nut diet experienced a significant reduction in blood sugar levels compared to the full-dose muffin diet.

Additionally, levels of LDL cholesterol, often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol, were markedly lower in the nut-consuming group. This diet also increased the intake of monounsaturated fats, which are known to benefit heart health.

The researchers observed a notable decrease in not just LDL-cholesterol but also non-HDL-cholesterol, highlighting the potential of nuts to improve cardiovascular health markers.

While there was a report of a serious health event involving one participant on the half-dose nut diet, it was not directly related to the diet itself.

This study underscores the importance of dietary choices in managing type 2 diabetes.

The varied benefits of different nuts were also noted: almonds are rich in calcium; pecans provide dietary fiber beneficial for digestion; macadamia nuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels; and walnuts offer alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 essential fatty acid crucial for heart health.

Given the promising outcomes, the researchers advocate for further studies to explore how different types of nuts might individually impact diabetes management. This could lead to more tailored dietary recommendations that enhance the health of those with type 2 diabetes.

By demonstrating that nuts can be a superior alternative to certain carbohydrate sources, this research provides valuable insights for dietary planning aimed at improving long-term health outcomes for diabetic patients.

It serves as a reminder of the powerful role that diet plays in managing chronic health conditions.

If you care about blood sugar, please read studies about why blood sugar is high in the morning, and how to cook sweet potatoes without increasing blood sugar.

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