The number of people living with diabetes worldwide is rapidly increasing. The burden of diabetes on optimal health and the economy is huge and will continue to grow if management such as dietary augmentation is not implemented. Diabetes is a major cause of renal damage and impairment. Diabetics is also a contributor to blindness.
Developing a diet that supports diabetes prevention, such as increasing vegetable proteins and fats and by consuming nuts is a good strategy. In cohort studies, results found nuts to have a positive effect on blood lipid profiles. Generally a diet adequate in nut consumption have been proven to be associated with a reduction in risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Due to evidence indicating that nut consumption is associated with increased HDL cholesterol concentrations and reduced LDL levels, there has been recent interest focused on the benefit of adding nuts into the diets of people with diabetes.
As per data from nursing studies nut consumption is to be consumed frequently in order to achieve the desired benefit of reducing incidence of diabetes. Peanut butter consumption is associated with a decreased risk of developing diabetes. People who eat nuts more than 6 times per week compared to those who didn’t reduced their relative risk of developing diabetes by about 28%. Studies show the closer a person’s body weight is to normal and the more servings of nuts per week that are consumed then the further the relative risk of developing diabetes is reduced. Research proves that eating approximately 1 quarter cup of nuts on a daily basis as a substitute for carbohydrates is effective as it pertains to maintain serum lipid and glycemic control for people with Type 2 diabetes. Free blood lipids and glucose control benefit from having raw, mixed, dry-roasted and unsalted nuts in your diet. This is a strategy to maintain control of diabetes effectively without gaining extra weight.
There is a different between the nutrient bioavailability and accessibility of ground nuts vs. whole nuts, for example almond butter vs. almonds. Due to the almond kernel and structures of the cell wall, studies show poor absorption of the dietary portions from the whole nut which includes the lipid matter. However when health outcomes are evaluated comparing ground nuts and wholes, there is no data indicating that a significant difference in bioavailability exists.
People with diabetes can eat any kind of nut that they so desire. However there are certain nuts that possess unique qualities that may be especially beneficial for someone who has diabetes. Although peanuts are a legume rather than a nut, it does have essential amino acids that are needed for good health. Almonds contain a high density of amino acids and vitamin E. Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids and cashews have a high magnesium content. Macadamia and pecan nuts are packed with energy and calories therefore are very nutrient dense, so be mindful of weight gain. Peanuts, pistachios and almonds show the greatest benefit in reducing cholesterol. High cholesterol is a strong contributing factor for heart disease and diabetics are at an increased risk. The unsaturated fats that nuts contain assist by lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol. In turn HDL “good” cholesterol rises.
People with diabetes who consume nuts along with foods that raise blood sugars rapidly (such as foods higher on the glycemic index) such as breads or pastas could likely reduce the rate of absorption of the carbohydrate thereby stabilizing glucose levels.