Quiz: Which Foods Affect Diabetes?

Veronique Duqueroy

Disclosures

August 20, 2014

All 3 mechanisms could be involved in a protective effect against diabetes. Tree nuts contain unsaturated fatty acids, high-quality protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals (eg, potassium, calcium, and magnesium), and phytochemicals (eg, carotenoids, flavonoids, and phytosterols). These nutrients may confer cardioprotective, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, which may explain the inverse association of tree nut intake with total and cause-specific mortality.[5,6]

More specifically, various prospective and clinical studies showed that eating tree nuts regularly is associated with significant cardiometabolic health benefits: It improves blood glucose control, lowers LDL and triglycerides, raises HDL, and lowers blood pressure with no weight gain.[7] It also reduces the risk for obesity.[5]

In diabetic patients, regular consumption of tree nuts significantly lowers A1c and fasting glucose.[8] Moreover, a randomized controlled trial reported that daily intake of 2 ounces of nuts as a replacement for carbohydrate foods improved both glycemic control and serum lipids in these patients.[9,10]

In summary: Natural (unsalted) tree nuts are a rich, dense food with a healthy lipid and nutritional profile. Regular consumption may help moderate glycaemia without promoting weight and therefore be a good alternative to carbohydrates in the diet of patients at risk of developing diabetes.

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