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Eating nuts is not a nutty idea

Eating nuts is not a nutty idea

April 09, 2019

 

How would you like to decrease the chance of life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and heart attack, as well as lower blood cholesterol at the same time without the use of cholesterol-lowering-drugs (CLDs)?

 

If you don’t have a peanut allergy, researchers at Pennsylvania State University report that eating peanuts every day is not a nutty idea.

 

Today, there’s a worldwide epidemic of Type 2 diabetes. Every 40 seconds a new case of diabetes is diagnosed in North America. Even before the development of Type 2 diabetes, a dangerous lull before the storm, called “insulin resistance” occurs.

 

 

Insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes, begins when the body’s cells that normally accept insulin to lower blood sugar, get tired of doing so. This means the pancreas has to produce more insulin, but the overall result is an increase in blood sugar and eventually the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes with all its potential complications. It’s a threatening relationship. Studies show that 50 per cent of patients with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes.

 

But can adding daily nuts to the diet prevent this from happening? To find out, researchers gave 2,832 patients, with and without diabetes, 52 grams of nuts daily. Results published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that pistachio nuts were associated with the greatest decrease in blood sugar.

 

So, what’s the magical ingredient in nuts that makes insulin more effective and lowers blood sugar? Researchers believe it’s not just one substance, but that nuts contain dietary fibre, magnesium and a good amount of healthy unsaturated fats.

 

This isn’t the first time that nuts have been found to be helpful in preventing cardiovascular problems. Dr. David Jenkins, director of clinical nutrition at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, studied 27 men and women for three months who had high levels of blood cholesterol.

 

During the first month, each person was given a snack, 74 grams of almonds daily (two handfuls of almonds). In the second month each received half the dose of almonds. In the third month, they all ate a low-saturated fat, whole wheat muffin as a daily snack.

 

The result was good news for the almond industry. The full dose of almonds reduced the bad cholesterol (low density lipoproteins LDL) by 9.4 per cent. A half-dose of almonds decreases LDL by 4.4 percent. The muffin snack had no effect.

 

Jenkins and his colleagues report that almond snacks also resulted in improvements in both total cholesterol and good cholesterol (high density lipoproteins HDL).

 

So, what does all this mean? Jenkins claims that two handfuls of almonds decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20 per cent and one handful by 18 per cent.

 

I believe one handful of almonds daily would be sufficient for me. Besides, there are other ways to improve these results. For instance, Jenkins reports that the risk of cardiovascular disease can be decreased by 25 per cent if the diet includes other cholesterol-lowering foods such as oat bran, barley, psyllium and soy products.

 

Previous research has suggested that eating nuts is heart-healthy. But eating nuts has not been highly recommended due to the large number of calories and fats they contain. This is a reasonable concern since half the population is overweight.

 

Jenkins study had other good news. His subjects did not gain weight. They were well aware that nuts were food and they followed the recommendation to eat sensibly. They did not eat oily, highly salted or sugared nuts. The best type of almond is the dry-roasted one.

 

The health message is quite clear. I’ve considered Type 2 diabetes public enemy No. 1 for both patients and our society for the last 60 years. And remember, most medical and other disasters do not occur overnight. Type 2 diabetes is no exception.

 

The immutable fact is that calories of any kind do count. In this case, too many gradually lead to obesity and a no-man’s land where insulin resistance occurs. But this situation can be reversed by weight reduction and avoidance of all the complications of Type 2 diabetes. Stepping on the scale is good prevention, and peanuts are not a nutty idea.

 

Source:https://www.theguardian.pe.ca