If you're worried about the high-fat content of nuts, new research may help ease your mind. A just-published Canadian study in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases
shows fatty acids in tree nuts may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Researchers from the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital found that incorporating about two ounces of tree nuts — almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, macadamias, walnuts, and peanuts — into the diet of people with diabetes helped boost their heart health.
"While a number of studies have shown that nuts can help reduce the risk of CHD and diabetes, no research to date has looked at the how nuts alter the fatty acid profile in people with diabetes and how this relates to cardiovascular health," said researcher Cyril Kendall.
The findings were released as part of a follow up to an earlier study conducted by the same team of researchers in 2011 that identified potential benefits of including nuts in the diets of 117 non-insulin dependent adults with diabetes.
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The participants were divided into three groups: The first followed a diet that included about a half-cup of mixed nuts; the second ate about a quarter- cup of mixed nuts and half portion of muffins; and the third did not eat nuts.
All of the diets contained the same number of calories but the nuts provided more unsaturated (i.e. healthy) fat and less carbohydrate.
"The results of our current study indicate that by incorporating nuts into a diabetes diet, one can modify the fatty acid profile of adults with Type 2 diabetes by modestly increasing the unsaturated fatty acid content of blood lipids," explained Kendall. "This in turn has the potential to contribute to the total reduction of CHD risk in those same individuals."
The .S. Food and Drug Administration has noted that "scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease."
The study new study was funded, in part, by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation.
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