Wish Upon A Dish: Information on Nuts and Type 2 Diabetes

July 24, 2011

Information on Nuts and Type 2 Diabetes

Every week I get an Email newsletter from Diabetic Gourmet Magazine. Usually it is filled with advertisements and non-essential information but this article caught my eye and I thought it was worthwhile enough to share with my readers......

Eating Nuts Every Day Could Help Control Type 2 Diabetes and Even Prevent Complications

July 2011 - Eating nuts every day could help control Type 2 diabetes and prevent its complications, according to new research from St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto.

In the research, published online by the journal Diabetes Care, a team of researchers led by Dr. David Jenkins (University of Toronto Department of Nutritional Sciences; St. Michael's Hospital Risk Factor Modification Centre) reports that consuming two ounces of nuts daily as a replacement for carbohydrates proved effective at glycemic and serum lipid control for people with Type 2 diabetes. The article, entitled "Nuts as a Replacement for Carbohydrates in the Diabetic Diet," is available here.

"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," said Dr. Jenkins, who also has appointments with St. Michael's Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the U of T's Department of Medicine. He also serves as Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism.

Jenkins and his colleagues provided three different diet supplements to subjects with Type 2 diabetes. One group was given muffins,
one was provided with a mixture of nuts including raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, and macadamias, and one group was given a mixture of muffins and nuts.

Subjects receiving the nut-only supplement reported the greatest improvement in blood glucose control using the glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test. The nut diet subjects also experienced a reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (known as LDL, or "bad cholesterol"). The subjects provided the muffin supplement or mixed muffin-and-nut supplement experienced no significant improvement in gylcemic control but those receiving the muffin-nut mixture also significantly lowered their serum LDL levels.

"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," Dr. Jenkins said.

"The study indicates that nuts can provide a specific food option for people with Type 2 diabetes wishing to reduce their carbohydrate intake."

I use ground nut flours in as many ways as I can....often adding them to whole wheat pastry flour when I bake banana and zucchini breads and crusts for tarts, both savory and sweet. You can find most nut flours in the baking aisle under the Hodgson Mill's label, in health food stores and in Whole Foods.
My favorites are chestnut, almond and corn. They can sometimes be labeled as a meal or a flour so look for both. Meals are a larger grind and flours usually are ground to a fine powder.

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