Diabetes? Go Nuts! More evidence that walnuts important for diabetics

Eating walnuts as part of one’s overall diet has been trumpeted again for people developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. The study follows another report published late last year, which highlighted the importance of eating a handful of walnuts a day. Walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fats, omega oils and vitamins.

PhD student Lynda Gillen, from the Smart Foods Centre at the University of Wollongong, was the lead author of the latest research paper. She concluded that clinicians and dietitians should be advising people to include walnuts as part of their total diet.

“This will help achieve optimal fat intake proportions without adverse effects on total fat or energy intakes in patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus,” Ms Gillen said.

Ms Gillen said the intake of 30 grams of walnuts a day in conjunction with 350g of oily fish a week enabled achievement of recommendations on the type of fat in an energy-controlled diet for the management of diabetes.

“In this way, individuals consuming walnuts were more likely to achieve a beneficial fat profile than those consuming a larger quantity of oily fish (500g/wk) or those following standard ‘low fat’ advice,” she said.

She said that after six months, those in the walnut group were consuming almost half their dietary fat intake from polyunsaturated fat-rich foods, with walnuts providing almost one third of total fat intake and one half omega-3 polyunsaturated fat intake. However, in contrast, the low fat advice group continued to consume foods rich in saturated fat as the main sources of fat in the diet.

“Achievement of energy balance despite increased intakes of high fat foods is an important finding in terms of weight management in diabetes,” Ms Gillen said.

University of Wollongong, July 6, 2005