Can eating nuts improve health?
HEALTH It sounds like a nutty idea, doesn’t it? According to researchers in Spain and the United States, knocking back a handful of pistachios or almonds (tree nuts, not peanuts) could help slow the development of type 2 diabetes in individuals who are already at risk. (Wait for the herd of people running to the bars for beer and nuts.)
The first study in Spain by Monica Bullo, MD involved 49 overweight or obese prediabetic subjects who consumed 57 grams (2 ounces) of pistachios daily for 4 months. Fasting glucose, insulin levels and insulin resistance were significantly reduced without weight gain.
The second trial by Sze Yen Tan, PhD at Purdue University reported on 137 adults randomized into two groups that either consumed 42 grams of almonds per day with meals/snack or received no almonds at all for 4 months. Those who ate the nuts felt less hungry and had lower postprandial blood glucose levels without any weight gain.
Both diets were Mediterranean in nature, and the control diet used olive oil in place of pistachios. Summarizing their conclusions, Dr. Bullo noted that nuts are “a rich, dense food with a healthy lipid profile,” and pistachios are rich in antioxidant carotenoids.
Despite such published findings, some peers are critical. Dr. Richard Elliot, research communications officer at Diabetes UK said, “We are not aware of any strong evidence that eating nuts reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.” In the absence of a larger body of clinical trials, it seems if you’re keen on staving off diabetes, you may need to ‘risk it’ and eat almonds unless, of course, you’re allergic to these nuts.
- Eating Nuts May Help Pause Path to Type 2 Diabetes. Lisa Nainggolan, medscape.com