I said it before, and I’ll say it again: Nuts are part of a healthy diet.
I know you may have been told to avoid nuts because they’re high in fat, which means eating them will make YOU fat too. But it’s simply NOT true…well, at least the part about you getting fat at any rate. (More on that later.)
Nuts are indeed full of fat. But it’s the super-healthy unsaturated and monounsaturated varieties that are packed inside those shells. You know, the kinds that are good for you and your heart.
I’ve told you before about tantalizing research that showed that a daily two ounce serving of raw organic almonds could help with both blood-sugar and cholesterol control.
And I’ve also explained how increasing fat in your diet could actually help slash your diabetes risk by half. You just need to be sure it’s the monounsaturated kind you find in foods like… yes, you guessed it… almonds and walnuts.
Control blood sugar AND cholesterol with nuts
Research published in the journal Diabetes Care confirms that a handful or two of nuts per day could be the key to controlling your blood sugar and balancing your LDL-cholesterol levels.
A team of researchers from the University of Toronto replaced some of the carbs in the diets of a group of diabetic volunteers with two ounces of mixed nuts.
Surprisingly the daily serving of nuts led to significantly better blood sugar control. Plus the volunteers saw a welcome drop in their LDL-cholesterol numbers too.
Diabetic volunteers were given one of three snacks daily:
- a muffin
- a mixture of raw nuts that included raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews and macadamias
- a half of a muffin and a half-serving of the nut mix
The team was careful to match up the calorie counts too. Each snack weighed in at around 475 calories.
Blood sugar plummeted by two thirds
The diabetics who got the nuts-only snack had their hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)—the numbers your doctor checks to see how well-controlled your blood sugar is—plummet by an incredible two thirds. Plus the lucky nut eaters had a significant drop in their LDL-cholesterol levels as well.
The muffin-only group didn’t fare so well. They saw no improvements in their blood-sugar control or cholesterol numbers. But, interestingly, the group that received both the muffins and the nuts did see some improvements in their LDL levels.
But that’s not all the study revealed. If you’ve sworn off nuts for fear of gaining weight the experts say don’t bother. Because the fat-filled nuts did not cause the volunteers to gain any weight.
In other words, if you’re not scarfing down an entire bag in a sitting (in which case all bets are off) there’s really no reason to avoid nuts because you fear packing on the pounds.
So if you’re looking for a simple, and delicious, way to help balance your blood sugar and cap your cholesterol at the same time, go ahead and go nuts.
“Nuts as a Replacement for Carbohydrates in the Diabetic Diet,” Diabetes Care, June 29, 2011, Published online before print, doi: 10.2337/dc11-0338
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