Incorporating nuts into diet may help diabetics with blood-sugar control, cholesterol

FRESNO, Calif. — Consuming nuts in place of carbohydrates may help improve long-term blood-sugar control and lower cholesterol levels among Type 2 diabetics, according to a new study.

Researchers from University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital studied 117 Type 2 diabetes patients over the course of three months who were randomized to 1-of-3 treatments. Groups were given either about 2 oz. of mixed nuts, a healthy muffin control or half portions of both at about 450 calories per 2,000-calorie diet. The diabetics that consumed the mixed nuts had a better handle on their blood-sugar control, based on HbA1C readings, and also saw a reduction in "bad" cholesterol levels.

"There are two important factors in caring for diabetes: blood-sugar control and heart health," said Cyril WC Kendall, study co-investigator. "This study found that eating 2 oz. of nuts, such as pistachios, daily as a replacement for carbohydrates improved both blood sugar (glycemic control) and 'bad' cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) in people with Type 2 diabetes. This is a very exciting and promising finding about the treatment of the disease."

The study was published in the June 29 edition of Diabetes Care.

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