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Not so nutty science

It may sound nuts, but it’s true. Even though they are full of fat, nuts could help control Type 2 diabetes.

It may sound nuts, but it’s true. Even though they are full of fat, nuts could help control Type 2 diabetes.



“What’s nice about nuts is that they are healthy and people enjoy eating them,” says Dr. Cyril Kendall, a research scientist in the department of nutrition at the University of Toronto. “They are easy to eat as snacks or can be incorporated into a variety of healthy dishes. It would be best if they were used to displace less healthy foods in the diet … such as white bread.”



To study the effect of nuts on people with Type 2 diabetes, Kendall and colleagues at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto divided 117 subjects into three groups: those who received a daily supplement containing muffins, those who received a daily supplement containing raw nuts, and those who received a daily supplement containing a mixture of muffins and nuts.



The nut mixture contained raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews and macadamias.



After three months, results showed that eating two ounces (about two handfuls) of nuts a day in place of a carbohydrate has two healthy effects: it helps improve blood glucose levels and also helps reduce cholesterol. The people in the study had Type 2 diabetes and were taking medication for it. These reductions — in blood glucose levels (which need to be controlled in diabetes in order to avoid complications) and cholesterol — were on top of that already seen with drugs. Reductions in cholesterol are good news, said Kendall, as this decreases risk for coronary heart disease. The study was published recently online by the journal Diabetes Care.

 
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