Walnuts consumption lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) by about half, finds a new epidemiological study published in the journal Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews. The findings demonstrate that consumption of about 3 tablespoons of walnuts was associated with a 47% lower prevalence of T2D.
Lenore Arab, David Geffen School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, and colleagues conducted the study to examine the associations between walnut consumption and diabetes risk using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Individuals with diabetes often have elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, or triglycerides, which can increase the risk for heart disease and stroke. Previous studies have examined the association between walnut consumption and cardiovascular health as well as diabetes. Findings from this study provide additional support for the role of walnuts as part of a healthy diet that may help reduce the risk for diabetes.
Among the numerous properties in walnuts that may be providing health benefits, walnuts are a rich source of recommended polyunsaturated fat (13 grams per ounce), which includes the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (2.5 grams per ounce).
For the study, the researchers looked at data from the NHANES, which draws from a large sampling of the U.S. population. In this study, 34,121 adults ages 18-85 years old were asked about their dietary intake, as well as if they had been diagnosed with diabetes or if they were taking medications for it. Individuals were also assessed for the chronic condition using common laboratory measurements including fasting plasma glucose and hemoglobin A1c. Those who reported consuming walnuts showed a lower risk for T2D compared to those who did not consume any nuts regardless of age, gender, race, education, BMI, and amount of physical activity.
According to the study, the average intake among walnut consumers was approximately 1.5 tablespoons per day. Doubling walnut consumption (eating 3 tablespoons) was associated with a 47% lower prevalence of T2D. This amount of walnut intake is close to the recommended serving size of walnuts, which is one ounce or four tablespoons. The researchers did not look at the impact of increasing walnut consumption beyond doubled intake.
“These findings provide more evidence for food-based guidance to help reduce the risk for diabetes,” says Dr. Arab of the David Geffen School of Medicine at The University of California, Los Angeles. “The strong connection we see in this study between walnut consumers and lower prevalence of T2D is an additional justification for including walnuts in the diet. Other research has shown that walnuts may also be beneficial for cognitive function and heart health.”
Based on the study, the authors concluded that both among individuals with known diabetes and those diagnosed based on elevated diabetes blood markers, the prevalence of individuals with diabetes was significantly lower among the walnut consumers. A possible gender-specific effect invites further attention.
For further information click on the link: https://doi.org/10.1002/dmrr.3031