Nuts vs. Bran Muffins for Diabetes
Diabetics should go nuts during their snack time. Recent research shows that the healthy oils in nuts improved hemoglobin A1c values for diabetics more than a muffin with a similar amount of protein. At snacktime, instead of a bran muffin, choose mostly raw almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, or macadamias.
The study showed if that people with type 2 diabetes eat 2oz of nuts each day, the monounsaturated fats found in these nuts will help improve their long-term blood sugar control.
What They Found
For three months, 117 subjects with diabetes were randomly assigned to have one of three snacks each day. All of the snacks contained the same amount of calories. The first snack was 2oz of mostly unsalted mixed nuts. The second snack was a muffin made with apple and wheat bran, and it contained a similar amount of protein. The third snack was a combination of both, half nuts, half muffin. Each subject ate the same snack for the three-month time frame.
After three months, researchers looked at the subjects hemoglobin A1c levels and found that the subjects eating only nuts reduced their Hemoglobin A1c level by 21%
Choose Nuts over Carbohydrates
The subjects in the other two groups, those with either the muffin or the half-nut dose, did not show any improvement in Hemoglobin A1c levels. The muffin contained carbohydrates, and so the benefit of replacing the muffin entirely is likely also due to removing part of the subjects carbohydrate load, which also improves blood sugar control. This allowed authors to conclude that nuts in place of carbohydrates are more beneficial in controlling blood sugar in diabetic populations.
Lipid Profile Improvement
As an added benefit, the increased healthy fat intake from the nuts also lowered the subjects LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. The other two groups did not show significant improvement in LDL cholesterol panels.
Additionally, the authors concluded that not only did the nuts improve glycemic control, but increase nut consumption helps improve the risk factors for heart disease. This information is helpful in forming a strategy to improve blood sugar control in patients with diabetics without weight gain.