- Walnuts can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to adults who do not consume nuts
- The recommended serving size of walnuts is one ounce or 4 tablespoons
Consuming walnuts can half the risk of developing type 2 diabetes when compared to adults who do not consume nuts, reveals a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
This research is an epidemiological study, where more than 34,000 American adults who took part in the study and the average intake among walnut consumers was found to be 1.5 tablespoons per day.
‘Type 2 diabetes can be reduced among those who consume walnuts by 47 percent, especially in those who ate about 3 tablespoons of walnuts.’
How Much Walnut is Good for Consumption?
When walnut consumption has been doubled, i.e., eating 3 tablespoons was found to lower the prevalence of type 2 diabetes by 47 percent. This amount of walnut intake is almost close to the recommended serving size, which is one ounce or 4 tablespoons. However, the research team has not increased the walnut consumption apart from just doubling it.
"These findings provide more evidence for food-based guidance to help reduce the risk for diabetes," said Dr. Lenore 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 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," said Dr. Arab.
The research team looked into the data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that was done on a large sampling of the U.S. population.
Can Walnuts Reduce Type 2 diabetes?
In this study, about 34,121 adults who were in the age group of 18-85 years old were asked about their dietary intake, also if they have diabetes or if they were taking diabetes medications.
Using common laboratory measurements the participants were assessed for diabetes such as hemoglobin A1c and fasting plasma glucose.
Participants who consumed walnuts were found to be at a lower risk for type 2 diabetes than those who did not consume any nuts. These results were not based on their age or gender or race or education or BMI or amount of physical activity.
Individuals with diabetes often are at risk of elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, which can lead to increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
In previous studies, scientists have investigated the association between walnut consumption and cardiovascular health and diabetes. The results provide additional information as to how walnuts play a major role in the healthy diet, which may help reduce diabetes risk.
Need for Further Research
Walnuts are a rich source of polyunsaturated fat, i.e., 13 grams per ounce, which also includes the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, i.e., 2.5 grams per ounce.
The limitations of the study were that participants were asked about their dietary choices of only one to two days, which may not reveal the usual consumption patterns. Also, the findings cannot prove causality because of the cross-sectional nature of the study.
The funding was provided by the California Walnut Commission (CWC), as they have supported health-related research on walnuts for more than 25 years. However, the actual research is conducted independently by research teams themselves who design the experiments, interpret the results and also write the manuscripts.