Eating a handful of pecans everyday can protect overweight and obese adults at risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Study researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, found that incorporating pecans in the diet had significantly improved insulin sensitivity and had an effect on markers of cardiometabolic disease. This study was published in Nutrients.
While a growing body of evidence has linked tree nuts such as pecans to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), this is the first study to look at the effects of pecan consumption on factors other than blood lipid levels and specifically those related to type 2 diabetes (T2D). Obesity is a risk factor for T2D, and both obesity and T2D increase CVD risk.
In this placebo-controlled crossover study of 26 men and women (average age 59 years), all meals were provided to carefully control their food intake. For four weeks at a time, subjects ate either a control diet with no nuts or the same diet with pecans substituted for 15 percent of the total calories. Both the control diet and the pecan-rich diet were low in fruits, vegetables and fiber. Calorie levels, as well as protein, carbohydrate, and total fat, were kept the same.