A new study found that a handful of walnuts per day may in fact lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Over the six-month period, the participants who were given a daily dose of walnuts had a decrease in their levels of LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, and an increase in their blood vessel function, compared with the participants who were not given walnuts.
Researchers say that high levels of LDL cholesterol, as well as poor blood vessel function are two of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Dr. David Katz, the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center in Derby, Connecticut and lead author of the study, said that walnuts are extremely nutritious. They include anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamin E, manganese, biotin, copper, and so on. However, they are also quite high in calories, so the question is whether people who eat walnuts every day will starts gaining considerable amounts of weight, Dr. Katz said.
In the study – published November 23 in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care – the researchers separated the 81 women and 31 men ages 25 to 75 who had an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes, into two groups.
For six months, the participants in the first group were given two ounces (almost 57 grams) of walnuts to eat with their daily diet, and those in the second group were given no walnuts.
A 12-week break followed the six-month period, after which the participants were asked to switch groups, according to the researchers.
During the study, researchers measured the participants’ weight, height, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, the quality of their diet, glucose levels, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood vessel function.
They also looked at the age, fatty acid intake, calorie intake, and exercise levels of the participants. After taking everything into consideration, they found that the blood vessel function improved among the participants when they were receiving their daily dose of walnuts. The quality of their diets also improved and they did not gain weight.
According to Anita Mirchandani, a certified fitness professional, dietician, and a spokesperson for the New York State Dietetic Association in New York City, said that one ounce (about 28 grams) of walnuts has about 18 grams of fat. Mirchandani says that 20 to 25 percent of people’s total daily calorie intake should come from (good) fats. That means that people who are on a 1,800-calorie diet should consume 40 to 70 grams of fat per day, she added.
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