Research over the past two decades has supported various health claims for tree nuts. (Plus, there’s the bushy-tailed proof offered in the annoyingly robust legions of squirrels ruling backyards across the country.) Solid information about the effects the nuts had on diabetics, however, was lacking. A group of researchers cracked that nut this summer with a meta-analysis suggesting that tree nuts are indeed helpful for type 2 diabetics.
Diet and lifestyle modification is the cornerstone for prevention and management of diabetes. Researchers hoped that by looking at the existing studies on tree nut consumption and diabetics, they could provide better evidence-based guidance on the role of tree nuts on glycemic control.
They scoured databases such as MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and found 12 relevant trials with mainly mid-aged subjects, that met their qualifications. After analyzing the data, their conclusion was decidedly pro-nut.
“The systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials shows that a daily median intake of 56 g (~2 ounces or ~½ cup) of tree nuts over a median duration of eight weeks significantly reduces HbA1c and fasting glucose in individuals with type 2 diabetes,” they wrote in PLoS One. “Although significant advantages were not seen for fasting insulin and HOMA-IR, the direction of effect favored tree nuts. The greatest advantages appear to be seen in trials using tree nuts to displace high-glycemic index carbohydrate to affect a low-glycemic load diet.”
The research was funded in part by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Other nut-promoting efforts have launched across the nation this summer. Planters has sent three Nutmobiles, (along the lines of the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, but nuttier) across the nation, to deliver giant, costumed Mr. Peanuts (and samples and coupons) to the people of America, and fear into the hearts of parents of kids with peanut allergies.