New Delhi: A new epidemiological study suggests that those who consume walnuts may have about half the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to adults who do not eat nuts.1According to the study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 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 type 2 diabetes. This amount of walnut intake is close to the recommended serving size of 28 grams or four tablespoons of walnuts.
Researchers looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which draws from a large sampling of the U.S. population. In this study, 34,121 adults between 18-85 years were asked about their dietary intake, as well as if they had been diagnosed with diabetes or if they were taking medications for diabetes. Individuals were also assessed for diabetes using common laboratory measurements including fasting plasma glucose and hemoglobin A1c.
Dr. Lenore Arab of the David Geffen School of Medicine at The University of California, Los Angeles said, “These findings provide more evidence for food-based guidance to help reduce the risk for diabetes.” Those adults who reported consuming walnuts showed a lower risk for type 2 diabetes compared to those who did not consume any nuts regardless of age, gender, race, education, BMI, and amount of physical activity.
She further added, “The strong connection we see in this study between walnut consumers and lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes is additional justification for including walnuts in the diet. Other research has shown that walnuts may also be beneficial for cognitive function and heart health.”
It has been observed that 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. The researchers did not look at the impact of increasing walnut consumption beyond doubled intake.
Among the numerous properties in walnuts that may be providing health benefits, walnuts are a rich source of recommended polyunsaturated fat (13 grams per 28 grams), which includes the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (2.5 grams per 28 grams).
Funding for this research was provided by the California Walnut Commission (CWC). The CWC has supported health-related research on walnuts for more than 25 years. While the CWC does provide funds and/or walnuts for various projects, the actual studies are conducted independently by researchers who design the experiments, interpret the results and write the manuscripts.