Cashew nuts and diabetes

Contents

The 5 nuts that are best for a diabetic person

Nuts are good sources of nutrients, as they are packed with numerous vitamins, minerals, calcium and unsaturated fatty acids. It is advisable to have a handful of nuts every day for staying healthy.
But if you are a diabetic, then consuming all types of nuts might not be a good idea for you. It is essential to eat mindfully so that your blood sugar level remains in control. Some nuts are better than others for people suffering from diabetes, so here are the five best nuts to include in your diet for a healthy life.

Almonds
According to a study published in the journal, Metabolism in April 2011, Almonds manage the glucose level in a diabetic person. They reduce oxidative stress, which is a key factor responsible for diabetes and heart disease. One serving of almonds can fulfill your daily magnesium requirements.
How to have: Unsalted and raw almonds are the best. You can also soak them in water overnight and have it in the morning.
Walnuts
Walnuts are high in calories but do not have any major impact on body weight. As per a study published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism journal, consuming walnuts give you a feeling of fullness and reduce the craving for other food items. It was also found that consuming walnuts on a regular basis helps in weight loss and reduces the fasting insulin level in a person.
How to have: Consume raw walnuts with its skin intact.
Pistachios
Pistachios are dense in energy but are a good source of protein and good fats, which help you to keep fuller for a longer time.
As per a study of 2014, published in the Review of Diabetic Studies, eating pistachios help to improve blood sugar level in people suffering from diabetes.
How to have: Salted pistachios should be avoided. You can have 30 nuts everyday with a bowl of fruits salad.
Peanuts
Good source of protein and fibre, peanuts are very beneficial for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Eating peanuts daily will not only help in weight loss but also minimise the risk of heart disease. Peanuts also control the blood sugar level in a diabetic person and prevent the development of diabetes in the first place.
How to have: You can have 28- 30 raw peanuts everyday.
Cashews
Having cashews on a regular basis lowers the level of blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease. Cashews contain less amount of fat as compared to other nuts. Moreover, they have no negative impact on the blood glucose level or weight.
How to have: You can have a handful of cashews everyday

The Best Nuts for Diabetes: Walnuts, Almonds, and More

When you’re looking for a satisfying diabetes-friendly snack, it’s hard to beat nuts. “Nuts are a super snack food for people with diabetes because they’re the total package — low in carbs and high in protein, fiber, and healthy fat — and they create a feeling of fullness,” says Cheryl Mussatto, RD, founder of Eat Well to Be Well in Osage City, Kansas.

Nuts: A Good Choice for Diabetes and Your Heart

The healthy fat in nuts protects your ticker, says Melissa Joy Dobbins, RDN, CDE, a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators. That’s important because people with type 2 diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to die of heart disease than those without it, according to the American Heart Association.

Heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts can lower your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, Mussatto says. “At the same time, nuts also raise levels of ‘good,’ or HDL, cholesterol,” she says. “This cholesterol acts sort of like a sanitation worker, removing cholesterol from the tissues for disposal, which prevents plaque buildup in the arteries.”

What’s more, nuts help regulate blood sugar, which makes them a better option to reach for than, say, pretzels, when afternoon hunger strikes, Mussatto says. Many kinds of nuts have this effect: Almonds have been shown to slow down the blood sugar response when eaten with carbohydrate-rich foods, according to a small study published in the journal Metabolism that focused on healthy people without the disease. A study published in March 2011 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found similar results for pistachios when eaten by healthy volunteers.

For those people already diagnosed with diabetes, regularly eating tree nuts can also improve blood sugar management, according to a meta-analysis published in September 2014 in the journal PLoS One.

Why Portion Control Is Key

Though these results may seem like enough to secure superfood status for nuts, there’s one other thing to be aware of: Nuts are high in calories. So eating too many can lead to weight gain, which is why experts suggest measuring out 1-ounce portion sizes instead of digging into an open bag.

Keep in mind that how nuts are prepared can influence how healthy they are. Avoid nuts that are coated in salt — Dobbins notes that sodium is bad for your blood pressure — and sugar. More bad news if you love the sweet-and-savory combo: Chocolate-covered peanuts and honey-roasted cashews are high in carbs and not the best choice when you have diabetes, Dobbins says. Try dry-roasted or raw nuts instead, which are flavorful but still healthy.

As for which nut to choose, here are four of the best for people with diabetes, roughly ranked in order of healthiness:

1. Walnuts

Serving size: about 14 shelled halves

According to a small randomized controlled study published in July 2017 in the journal Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, walnuts may help promote feelings of fullness, preventing unhealthy food cravings and potentially aiding weight loss. Another study published in April 2013 in The Journal of Nutrition found women who ate walnuts had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. “The fiber, the protein, and the good fats help manage hunger and blood sugars,” Dobbins says.

Walnuts are also a rich source of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and may help reduce inflammation, Mussatto says, making walnuts her absolute favorite nut to recommend. Inflammation is tied to diabetes, as well as other conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

Serving size: about 23 nuts

Almonds help control glucose levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for people with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in April 2011 in the journal Metabolism. Dobbins notes they also have more fiber than other nuts — 3.5 grams, to be exact — making them a good source of fiber. “Fiber helps keep you full, keeps your blood sugars more stable, and is good for your digestion,” Dobbins adds.

One more reason almonds are superstars for people with diabetes: One serving offers 20 percent of your daily magnesium recommendation. That’s helpful Mussatto says, because many people with diabetes are deficient in this mineral, which promotes healthy bones, normal blood pressure, blood glucose control, and good muscle and nerve function.

3. Pistachios

Serving size: about 45 nuts

“Pistachios’ trio of fiber, protein, and good fats help keep you fuller longer, making them a smarter bet than carbohydrate-heavy snacks,” Dobbins says.

There are a few studies that have found improved blood sugar in people with diabetes who eat pistachios as a snack, including a randomized controlled crossover study published in August 2014 in The Review of Diabetic Studies.

Enjoy them as a standalone snack or build them into your meals. Dobbins suggests subbing them in for croutons on a salad, or using crushed pistachios instead of breadcrumbs on baked chicken or fish.

4. Peanuts

Serving size: about 28 peanuts

Even peanut butter has a lot going for it: According to a small study published in June 2013 in the British Journal of Nutrition, obese women with type 2 diabetes who added peanut butter to their breakfast had better glucose concentrations and appetite control for up to 8 to 12 hours. Consider that a good reason to add a spoonful to your morning oatmeal or smoothie.

Type 2 diabetics must carefully monitor the foods they eat to ensure their blood sugar levels remain consistent. Typically, this means paying particular attention to picking low glycemic index snacks and ingredients. Plenty of nut varieties fit that description perfectly! In fact, some of the best nuts for diabetics are easy to find and, more importantly, incredibly tasty and versatile.

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and are searching for wholesome treats, you naturally want healthier options that will help keep your glucose levels from spiking. Rather than eating the same things day after day, consider including some of the following three nuts in your diet.

1. Walnut Halves and Pieces

Bakers have always had a fondness for walnuts, perhaps because of the nut’s earthy crunchiness and slightly sweet flavor. In addition to being delicious, walnuts may lower the risk for diabetic complications by assisting the body in balancing cholesterol levels. Other benefits of walnuts include a fiber-rich composition that works with the body to maintain digestion.

Be sure to buy walnut halves and pieces that have not been salted or coated in sugar. Just a few walnuts make an ideal afternoon treat to curb hunger and satisfy cravings. Remember that walnuts can be toasted lightly in any regular or toaster oven to bring out a new dimension to their smell and taste.

2. Almonds

Like walnuts, plain almonds are high in fat but surprisingly popular among dieters, including people with type 2 diabetes trying to keep their weight under control. This makes almonds one of the best nuts for controlling diabetes symptoms, as long as they are eaten in moderation with other nutritious foods.

Almonds boast high levels of calcium and vitamin A, making them a stellar addition to any fruit and nut plate. They can be sprinkled on low-calorie, nutrient-rich salads, or just eaten as-is. A good rule of thumb when purchasing almonds is to find almonds available in bulk quantities to save significantly. When stored appropriately, almonds have a long shelf life.

3. Peanuts

Who could forgo munching on a few peanuts if given the chance? Peanuts are one of the most commonly eaten nuts among type 2 diabetics. Plenty of research indicates that the addition of peanuts to an already healthy diet can make a difference in blood sugar levels in the long run.

Peanuts supply an impressive amount of protein and vitamin E, both of which are excellent additions for a diabetic food plan. They can be crushed and sprinkled on a range of foods, too, making them a highly versatile diabetic kitchen staple. Due to their higher fat content, they sate the appetite relatively quickly. Those with diabetes should be sure to always indulge in peanuts with no added sugars or salt.

Want to burn a few extra calories while enjoying this nut? Order unsalted, unshelled, roasted peanuts rather than already shelled ones.

The Verdict on Diabetes and Nuts

Can diabetics eat nuts? The answer is definitely “yes.” Fleshing out your diet and gaining control of your health never tasted so indulgent. Feel free to explore the many nut varieties and purchasing options available through Sincerely Nuts.

Shop Nuts Online

Ever heard someone say they don’t consume sugar? Not that they don’t consume added sugars, but that they don’t eat any sugars? I have, and to be honest, it really makes no sense. Considering that sugars are naturally found in so many foods, how can they possibly eat a diet with absolutely none? In fact, I’m not even sure there are any foods that don’t contain natural sugars, but honestly, I’m not sure. So I decided to dig a little further.

What does a diet with no sugar look like?

First things first, let’s remove what we first think of when we think of natural sugars. This will include fruits; syrups, like honey and maples syrup; and whole grains and refined grains, such as oatmeal, quinoa, whole wheat, and bread. What else would I be missing if I take these foods out of the diet? Well, a lot, since fruits and whole and refined grains are nutrient-rich. Many of these foods contain essential nutrients that many of us don’t get enough of, like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).

What do these nutrients do for you? Glad you asked. Whole grain foods contain B vitamins, which support cellular development, improve the immune system, and may help increase energy levels. Vitamin A and C support eye and immune health, respectively. And both fruits and whole grain foods can provide fiber, which is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and some cancers.

Oh, and since we’re talking about fruits, let’s discuss another whole food—nuts. Nuts contain naturally-occurring sugars too, so goodbye peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, and other nuts that provide healthful mono- and polyunsaturated fats, such as omega 3, 6, and 9.

Lactose, a type of sugar found in dairy, will also get the ax. No more milk in my coffee, cheese on my eggs, and a yogurt bowl for breakfast. But with this goes important sources of protein, and a source of calcium, which is a vital mineral that supports bone health. Oh, and without yogurt, I’ll have to find another fermented source of gut-healthy probiotics.

With the better part of three food groups now off limits (dairy, grains, and fruits), we turn to the remaining two for options…but with contingencies. Vegetables—did you know that not all vegetables are sugar-free? In fact, many vegetables contain naturally-occurring sugars, like root vegetables, such as rutabaga and beets; buckwheat, which includes rhubarb; and gourds, like pumpkin, butternut squash, and zucchini. Sadly, these nutritious foods will have to go, too.

So, we are left with only animal-based proteins and some vegetables…and the only reason any vegetables are left is because I gave a pass to those with less than 1 gram of sugar. If I didn’t, I could only consume animal-based proteins, like chicken, beef, shrimp, etc.

A healthy and balanced diet with no sugar just isn’t possible

There are two things to take away from all of this. The first is most foods that make up a healthy eating pattern contain naturally-occurring sugars. Second, removing foods with sugars from the diet can make it potentially dangerous due to the lack of vital nutrients, but it would be dangerously boring as well. The reality is there’s no reason to remove foods from your diet just because they naturally contain sugar. After all, these foods are more than just sugars, like vital nutrients like protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and other healthful components like antioxidants and probiotics.

So the next time you hear someone claiming they no longer eat “sugar,” ask them to clarify if they mean natural or added sugar. It seems minor, but there’s a major difference to a food nerd like me.

The Effect of Cashews on Blood Glucose

Cashews contain more carbohydrates than other nuts. As a result, they can affect your blood glucose, but their impact is minimal. If you’re healthy, the calories in cashews — 157 per 1-ounce serving — have more potential to affect your weight than spike your blood sugar. But if you’re diabetic, or you have any questions about your blood glucose, talk to your health care provider before making changes to your diet.

Blood Glucose and Your Health

Blood glucose rises after you eat carbohydrates, which triggers the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin restores blood sugar back to normal by transporting glucose into cells that need it for energy or by sending it off to be stored.

If you have diabetes, your blood levels of glucose stay higher than normal because your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or it can’t use insulin properly. Over time, high blood sugar can cause heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage.

A treatment plan for diabetes includes eating foods that don’t spike blood sugar. Even if you don’t have diabetes, following a diet that keeps blood sugar balanced can help you maintain a healthy weight and provide steady energy.

Carbohydrates in Cashews

Cashews contain more total carbohydrate and less fiber than most other nuts. You’ll get nearly 9 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fiber in a 1-ounce serving of cashews. By comparison, walnuts and pecans have roughly half the carbs and at least double the fiber.

Carbs and fiber together determine the overall impact on levels of blood glucose. Blood sugar rises in proportion to the amount of carbs you eat. On the other hand, fiber slows down the rate at which carbs are digested and absorbed, which helps lower blood glucose.

Glycemic Impact

Due to their carb content, cashews affect blood sugar more than other nuts, but their glycemic index score shows they only have a small impact.

The glycemic index rates carbohydrate-containing foods according to how quickly blood sugar spikes and how high it goes after they’re consumed. The scale goes from zero to 100, with a score of 100 representing the extreme spike caused by pure glucose.

A glycemic rating of zero represents foods with no impact on blood sugar, but any food with a score below 55 is considered low-glycemic. Cashews fall in the middle with a score of 22.

Cashew Benefits

The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes was lower in women who ate an ounce of nuts, including cashews, at least five times weekly, reported a review published in Nutrients in July 2010.

Cashews are good sources of healthy monounsaturated fats, which contributed to better-balanced blood glucose in people with Type 2 diabetes, according to a study in the August 2011 issue of Diabetes Care. Compared to other nuts, cashews are also one of the best sources of magnesium, which is vital for insulin to work properly, reports Michigan State University Extension 6.

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Walnuts, pistachios, almonds …. By now you know that nuts are an important part of a healthy, whole food diet. But new research shows they may be especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.

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A recent study published in Circulation Research found a lower risk of heart disease and death in people with Type 2 diabetes who ate nuts.

“They showed a significant reduction in cardiovascular risk factors with diabetics when they’re eating at least five servings of nuts a week,” says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, who did not take part in the study. “The serving size was about an ounce – 28 grams – which is exactly what we recommend.”

The study involved 16,217 men and women with Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers found that the people who ate tree nuts such as walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and pistachios saw the most benefit in terms of reduced heart disease risk, as well as overall death risk.

Nutritional powerhouses

Nuts have monounsaturated fatty acids, protein and fiber and are low in carbohydrates. This means they help fill us up while keeping blood sugar low, Zumpano says.

She adds that when people eat nuts instead of a carbohydrate-rich or fat-filled snack food when they get hungry, it helps keep their numbers in check.

“Regular nut intake gives you such satiety and fullness and nutrient density that you’re not looking for other snacks to fill up on, therefore helping manage your blood sugars better and your cholesterol profile better,” she says.

Nuts have also been shown to improve good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.

Zumpano suggests aiming for three servings of nuts each week. A serving size is an ounce, or about the amount that would fit in the palm of the hand.

Diabetes? Go nuts to lower your heart risk

Research we’re watching

Published: May, 2019

A near-daily serving of nuts may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes, new research suggests. The study, published online February 19 by Circulation Research, relied on diet surveys from more than 16,000 people before and after they were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a condition that elevates the risk of heart disease. Researchers asked them about their nut-eating habits over a period of several years. People who ate five servings of nuts per week had a 17% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared with those who ate less than a serving per week.

Chock full of unsaturated fat, fiber, and minerals, nuts can help control blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Tree nuts, which include walnuts, almonds, and pistachios, seemed to offer the strongest benefits in the study. Peanuts, which aren’t technically nuts but legumes, weren’t quite as healthy. While this study can’t prove cause and effect, eating a small handful of unsalted nuts on most days will likely help your heart, even if you don’t have diabetes.

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Eat Nuts to Control Blood Sugar & Fat

Nuts contain unsaturated fats, protein and a range of vitamins and minerals that lower cholesterol, inflammation and insulin resistance.
A recent study suggests that you should include at least 50 grams of almonds, cashews, chestnuts, walnuts or pistachios in your diet to control blood fats (triglycerides) and sugars – two of the five markers for metabolic syndrome. The study was published in the journal BMJ Open.
Tree nuts tend to healthier than others. Family of tree nuts includes almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts amongst others. A person develops metabolic syndrome if he or she has three of the following risk factors – low levels of “good” cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and extra weight around the waist. By including at least 50 grams of almonds, cashews, chestnuts, walnuts or pistachios in your diet, blood fats (triglycerides) and sugars can be controlled effectively.
“Eating tree nuts is good for lowering risk for heart disease and other health problems such as diabetes and strokes,” said John Sievenpiper, a physician at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. However, the greatest benefit can be reaped only if they are consumed daily.
The study found a “modest decrease” in blood fats known as triglycerides and blood sugars among people who added tree nuts to their diets compared to those who ate a control diet. To reach this conclusion, Sievenpiper screened 2,000 articles published in peer-reviewed journals and found 49 randomised control trials with 2,000 participants.Sievenpiper says that the largest reductions in triglycerides and blood glucose were seen when tree nuts replaced refined carbohydrates rather than saturated fats. He also added that there was no adverse impact on the other risk factors for metabolic syndrome or weight gain, even though nuts are high in calories. “Fifty grams of nuts can be easily integrated into a diet as a snack or as a substitute for animal fats or refined carbohydrates,” Sievenpiper noted.

Often labeled as a “low carb” food, nuts are generally considered a healthy choice for people diabetes, but like many healthy foods, they aren’t perfect.

Are nuts a good snack for people with diabetes? Absolutely, but it doesn’t take much for them to quickly become a source of trouble. The old saying about “too much of a good thing” rings very true when it comes to your favorite nuts like cashews, almonds, macadamias, Brazil nuts, filberts, walnuts, and the regular old peanut (which is actually a legume!)

In this article, we’ll look at both the benefits of nuts and the consequences of eating too many. But let me assure, no one is going to suggest in this article that you stop enjoying peanut butter!

Table of Contents

Do nuts affect blood sugar levels?

While nuts are certainly low in carbohydrates compared to fruits and grains, they are not low enough to ignore their impact on your blood sugar. After subtracting the dietary fiber (part of the carbohydrate count which is not broken down into glucose), most nuts have about 4 or 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

Peanuts — a legume often grouped with nuts — are seemingly low in carbohydrate but can also raise your blood sugar more than you’d expect. Peanut butter often has a small amount of sugar added to it, increasing the carb-count modestly, but it’s often enough to raise your blood sugar.

That being said, even freshly ground 100 percent peanuts can raise your blood sugar, too.

For those taking insulin, you may find you need a very small bolus of insulin with a serving of peanuts, peanut butter, or other nuts.

Some studies have shown improvements in fasting blood sugar and A1c levels when consuming nuts, most likely because consuming fats with a carbohydrate-rich meal slows the absorption of carbohydrates and therefore reduces blood sugar spikes. However, this effect is very small at best and not a reason to add nuts to normal meals.

The nutrition of a nut

In general, nuts can absolutely be part of a healthy, whole-foods based diet for people with diabetes, especially for those eating a diet lower in carbohydrates. But that doesn’t mean we should go hog-wild and eat nuts without restraint.

Nuts offer so many remarkably healthy benefits, but they are also very dense in calories and dietary fat.

The nutrition profile of most nuts

The recommended serving size of nuts is 1 oz or a slightly larger serving of ¼ cup. According to CalorieKing, a 1 oz serving of nuts contains an average of:

  • 160 to 220 calories
  • 12 to 18 grams of fat
  • 5 to 10 grams of total carbohydrate
  • 1 to 4 grams of dietary fiber
  • 1 to 3 grams of naturally occurring sugar
  • 5 to 8 grams of protein

Nuts are also high in a variety of vitamins and minerals, according to the Mayo Clinic, including:

So while nuts are definitely high in healthy nutrients, they also pack a serious punch when it comes to calories. A single cup of nuts (which doesn’t seem like much and is quickly eaten) packs around 800 calories, almost half of the recommended daily intake for most adults.

You can read this guide on how to find your daily calorie need to learn more about calories.

Understanding the fat in nuts

People with diabetes are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than people without diabetes according to the American Heart Association. This makes being aware of the fat you eat and how it affects your heart especially important when you live with diabetes.

The fat in nuts is largely monounsaturated, very good for lowering cholesterol and protecting your overall heart health, explains the Mayo Clinic. While nuts do contain some saturated fat, research on saturated fat being harmful to your health is wildly up for debate.

“One review of 72 studies comprising almost 600,000 people found no link between total or saturated fat and heart disease,” explains Mark Hyman, MD in 7 ways to optimize cholesterol, “but they did find that trans-fats were clearly harmful and omega 3 fats were beneficial.”

Hyman goes on to explain that high LDL cholesterol has actually not proven in research to be the cause of heart attacks. Instead, patients with low HDL levels had the highest rates of heart attack.

Other health benefits of nuts

Better for your bones than dairy

Almonds are actually a great source of calcium — better for your bones, according to Harvard research, than dairy. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine explains:

“A 12-year Harvard study of 78,000 women, those who drank milk three times a day actually broke more bones than women who rarely drank milk. Similarly, a 1994 study of elderly men and women in Sydney, Australia, showed that higher dairy product consumption was associated with increased fracture risk. Those with the highest dairy product consumption had approximately double the risk of hip fracture compared to those with the lowest consumption.”

This means that almond milk is actually an optimal choice for people concerned with their bone health, and for anyone looking to get enough calcium. Other ideal sources of calcium — rather than dairy — include dark leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce.

Reducing inflammation

“Inflammation is one of the recognized mechanisms involved in the development of atherosclerotic plaque and insulin resistance,” explained a 2008 study on nuts consumption and inflammation.

The study concluded that frequent nut consumption had a clear association with lower inflammation markers — but remember, this doesn’t mean you should eat nuts by the handful. Nuts are still dense in calories, and one 1/4 cup serving per day is plenty for the average person’s calorie needs.

The Harvard School of Medicine’s research encourages nuts for an overall anti-inflammatory diet, too:

“To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet. If you’re looking for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.”

Reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease

Regular consumption of nuts has been directly linked in a reduction in cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and all-cause mortality according to a 2014 study.

Harvard’s research strikes again in supporting nuts for reducing a variety of heart conditions:

“In one large study examining nuts and health, researchers analyzed data from over 210,000 health professionals followed up to 32 years. They found that, compared with those who never or almost never ate nuts, people who ate one ounce of nuts five or more times per week had a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease during the study period. Both peanuts (technically a legume, but nutritionally similar to nuts) and walnuts were linked with lower disease risk.”

When it comes to your bones, your inflammation levels, and your heart, it’s quite clear that nuts are here to help!

Will eating nuts cause weight gain?

As mention above, nuts are very high in calories and “grazing” on nuts throughout the day can quickly lead to a calorie surplus and weight gain.

On the plus side, nuts are high in protein and will for many people create a feeling of fullness. Nuts in moderate amounts can, therefore, be a great snack to get through the afternoon and actually help weight management.

As with any other healthy but calorie-dense food, moderation is key.

How often should people with diabetes eat nuts?

When it comes to eating nuts, less is more, simply because they are nutritiously dense in calories.

A daily serving of nuts should be about ¼ cup of nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter. Remember that roasted nuts are often coated with additional oil before roasting which means they contain even more fat.

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Diabetes Diet

Those that suffer from diabetes mellitus know that regulating their diet is one of the most imperative means of controlling the disease’s ill-effects. Eating the right foods can help lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels to prevent the potential complications of the condition. Learn how dietary changes can improve your health, what changes to make, and how to make these changes with the information included below.

Why Does Diet Help?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease characterized by the body’s inability to effectively regulate the production of insulin, a hormone that regulates glucose in the bloodstream. Insulin is naturally produced in the pancreas, and it enables cells both to absorb glucose compounds from the bloodstream when needed and to store excess quantities of the sugar in the liver when they are not.

Patients afflicted by diabetes mellitus lack sufficient insulin to perform these tasks due to insufficient production of the hormone, an inability to utilize the insulin that is produced, or some combination thereof. This inability to produce or utilize insulin may result in a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream that can consequently damage blood vessels throughout the body. This destruction, in turn, may lead to complications like heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.

When insulin is in short supply, in addition to taking injections of the hormone, patients may seek to prevent the damage caused by excess amounts of glucose by reducing their intake of foods that contain it. This doesn’t just mean avoiding foods with refined sugars like candy and soda, but it also requires patients to recognize foods that metabolize into glucose and to control the consumption of any substance that adds sugar to the bloodstream when digested.

Regulating Blood Sugar: The Low-Carb Diet and The Glycemic Index

Carbohydrates are a central component of nearly any diet. Foods made largely of either simple or complex carbohydrates provide our primary sources of energy and should generally account for more than 40% of the calories we consume; however, many carbohydrates can cause an unwelcome spike in blood sugar that may be particularly dangerous to those afflicted with diabetes.

One common mentality when considering dietary changes to accommodate diabetes is to decrease carb consumption. While this may reduce blood sugar levels, it may not prove feasible due to our reliance on carbohydrates as a source of energy; in fact, most health authorities agree that carbohydrates should account for 40 – 60% of our caloric intake. Certain classes of carbohydrates, however, contribute more to a healthy diet than others.

There are three central types of carbohydrates: starches (complex carbohydrates), sugars (simple carbohydrates), and fiber. Common sources of starches include legumes and grains, while fruit and milk are sources of natural, healthy sugar. Fiber is an indigestible plant part that provides a feeling of fullness and maintains digestive health; common sources of fiber include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.

Though natural sugars like fruits and milk are not without their benefits, artificial sugars found in artificial syrups and sweets should be avoided. Many sources of fiber and starch also supply essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Because of this, even when reducing your intake of artificial sugars, you will actually want to maintain a well-balanced diet that supplies a blend of sugars, starches and fiber.

To balance carbohydrate consumption with healthy blood sugar levels, many rely on a tool called the glycemic index (GI). This index assigns a value to foods based on the increase of glucose in the blood initiated by their consumption.The value intends to provide an estimate of both the total rise of blood sugar a food causes and the pace at which this increase will occur. The higher the number of a food’s GI value, the more rapidly it will cause blood sugar levels to rise.

High GI foods, then, such as white bread, corn flakes, short grain white rice, popcorn, pineapple, and pumpkin should typically be avoided by diabetics. On the other hand, low glycemic foods such as whole grain breads, sweet potatoes, peas, and select fruits should account for the majority of carbohydrates in any healthy diet. Aside from the glycemic index, however, there are additional factors for both healthy and diabetic persons to consider when determining their diet.

What Foods Compose a Diabetes-Friendly Diet?

Watching your carbohydrate intake is a great start, but there are many other considerations to a healthy diet. In addition to eating an adequate amount of healthy carbohydrates, it’s essential to consume sufficient supplies of both protein and healthy fats. On the other hand, limiting our intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, and trans fats may also prove beneficial to our health.

It’s also important to remember that foods don’t simply fall neatly into a category of “protein” or “carbohydrate,” rather, they are composed of a blend of different compounds and nutrients. As such, you should look at your plate as a whole every meal rather than considering what to add or subtract from your overall diet. Personal preference, additional health complications, and financial resources will each influence what you put on your plate.

We recommend eating a blend of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and lean meats to supply all the nutrients your body needs. Of the lean meats you may consume, fish provide a healthy supply of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that should help mitigate the risks of heart disease associated with diabetes. Opting for gluten-free grains like oats, quinoa, and farro may also prove beneficial, as those with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk for developing Celiac disease.

Healthy Habits & Additional Considerations

In addition to controlling what you put on your plate, limiting your portion size is an essential part of any healthy diet. By being aware of the amount you consume, you can prevent overeating that would otherwise lead to weight gain. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of certain complications associated with diabetes and should, therefore, be a goal for anyone with the disease.

Regular exercise may also help to achieve this end and can help support a healthy heart. It should be noted, however, that exercise should be seen as a supplementary effort to a healthy diet rather than as a replacement for it. In addition to assembling a plate with a healthy composition and exercising regularly, it is also essential to limit your intake of salt, alcohol and processed meats.

Lastly, it is important to note that a healthier diet may reduce the need for diabetic medications. If your blood sugar levels decline then maintaining the same dose of insulin may lead to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Because of this, it’s important to regularly test your blood sugar levels and to work with your physician to determine the right dose of medication to adapt to any significant lifestyle change.

For snack ideas that contribute to a diet aimed at supporting healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, check out these recipes and snack recommendations provided by our resident Registered Dietitian.

Diabetes Recipes from Our Registered Dietitian

If you’re hoping to create a dish that satisfies a particular craving, these recipes offer both savory and sweet plates to please your palate at any time of day. When it comes to choosing quality carbs, think of foods like whole grain pasta, quinoa, brown rice, and farro which deliver fiber and protein along with the carbs to help balance blood sugar levels.

Quinoa Pancakes Recipe

These delectable flapjacks are made with the healthful whole grain quinoa, and the recipe can also utilize brown rice flour to create confections that are completely gluten-free. Try this low GI alternative to your favorite breakfast food today!
Ingredients: Quinoa, whole wheat pastry flour (or brown rice flour for gluten-free cakes), eggs, milk, maple syrup or honey, raw pecans, baking powder, vanilla extract, salt.
Total Time: 15 minutes | Yield: 7 pancakes

Farro Vegetable Salad Recipe

Add some healthy carbohydrates to your diet with a dish that tastes great and supplies an ample amount of hearty nutrients.
Ingredients: Organic farro, sun dried tomatoes, frozen corn (thawed), scallions, black olives, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, salt, fresh dill, fresh mint, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar.
Total Time: 1 hour | Yield: 6 servings

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Recipe {gluten-free}

Finding a wholesome source of fiber can be difficult, but our quinoa salad makes it simple with an organic source of carbohydrates that supports a healthy blood sugar level with the low GI grain, quinoa.
Ingredients: Quinoa, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh parsley, fresh mint, black pepper, salt.
Total Time: 40 minutes | Yield: 4 servings

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe {gluten-free}

Another great way to find your full fill of fiber, these stuffed peppers combine the wholesome quinoa with the nutrient-dense powerhouses of lentil, spinach and bell pepper.
Ingredients: Quinoa, green bell peppers, canned lentils, fresh spinach, feta cheese, frozen corn (thawed), salt, black pepper.
Total Time: 40 minutes | Yield: 6 servings (8 half-peppers)

Farro Risotto with Mushrooms Recipe

An alternative to quinoa that’s just as powerful for providing protein and fiber is the flavorful farro; and, when combined with parmesan cheese, the two create a nutritious meal that tastes absolutely incredible!
Ingredients: Organic pearled farro, sliced mushrooms, garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil, frozen peas, salt, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, hot water.
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes | Yield: 6 servings

No-Bake Pistachio Cookies Recipe {gluten-free, vegan}

Searching for something to satisfy that sweet tooth without supplying a surplus of sugars and unwanted carbs? These palatable pistachio cookies cater to your diet with a surprisingly wholesome source of savor. Try this quick and simple recipe today!
Ingredients: Pistachios, unsweetened shredded coconut, gluten-free rolled oats, maple syrup, moringa powder, water, vanilla extract, cashews, almond butter, vanilla, coconut oil.
Total Time: 20 minutes | Yield: 16 cookies

Diabetes Snack Suggestions from Our Registered Dietitian

Controlling blood sugars is paramount for diabetics, which means focusing meals and snacks on foods that deliver a blend of quality carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

For more diabetic-friendly snack ideas, .

Organic 6 Grain Hot Cereal

$3.99/lb

Starting your day with whole grain cereal will supply your body with all the rich benefits of quality carbs! Each serving has 5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Plus, you can top the cereal with chopped nuts for an added helping of healthy fats and a dash of cinnamon for flavor.

Organic Cacao Powder

$9.99/lb

Cacao powder is ideal for a chocolate fix without the downsides of sugar. Cacao (also known as cocoa powder) is unsweetened and made from cacao beans. It is rich in magnesium, which plays a role in maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Try mixing some cacao powder into oatmeal for a deep chocolate flavor.

Organic Pepitas (No Shell Pumpkin Seeds)

$7.99/lb

The crunchy inner part of pumpkin seeds, known as pepitas, are nutrient rich and have fiber, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. Try mixing pepitas with other nuts for a quick snack, or topping a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter and a sprinkle of pepitas!

Roasted Mixed Nuts (50% Less Salt)

$12.99/lb

Research shows that eating two ounces of nuts daily as a replacement for carbohydrates resulted in improved blood sugar control and in an improvement in ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol levels. Try swapping out sugar/high carb snacks for lower carb options like mixed nuts! Remember, portion control is important – each small handful is about an ounce of nuts.

Organic Green Lentils

Boost your daily intake of fiber, especially soluble fiber by working lentils into your eating routine, the soluble fiber they contain is found to help prevent blood sugar levels from spiking. Each serving of lentils has about 7 grams of fiber. Try adding lentils to soups or stews or just enjoying them as side dish seasoned with your favorite spices.

Roasted White Chickpeas (Salted)

$5.99/lb

Roasted chickpeas are a great snack, they are crunchy and tasty! Plus they will fill you up with 6 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein contained in each serving. Try having them as a standalone snack or using them as a salad topper to add a nutrient-rich crunch.

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