Pecans and Diabetes
Medical authorities have repeatedly acknowledged the importance of nuts. They have a terrific taste and are regarded as superfoods that provide your body with a wide range of nutrients. According to research, type-2 diabetes patients that consume nuts regularly, especially tree nuts, are less likely to develop heart disease and die from one due to their heart-healthy fat content.
We often hear how beneficial almonds, walnuts, and even pistachios are to our health. However, there’s constant debate on whether pecans pass as a healthy snack for those managing diabetes. Hopefully, our analysis of research papers and clinical trials on pecans and diabetes will help resolve this controversy.
- Protein 9.17 g
- Carbohydrate 13.9 g
- Fat 72 g
- Fiber 9.6 g
- Sugar 3.97 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
Nutritional Profile of Pecans
Pecans are high-calorie nuts packed with loads of nutrients, with fats being among the most dominant. A cup of chopped pecans offers a whopping 78.5 g of fat, alongside a staggering 753 cal. While this amount of fat may seem ridiculous and threatening to a diabetic’s health, reports indicate that most are monounsaturated (57%), which have impressive cholesterol-lowering benefits.
Although these nuts have a relatively high carb content of 15.2 g, their high dietary fiber content of 10.5 g may help offset the associated high blood sugar effect of carbs. Additionally, pecans have a low glycemic index (GI) of 10 and are rich in calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which reduces high blood pressure — a prevalent type 2 diabetes complication.
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Why Should You Add Pecans to Your Diabetic Diet?
It’s clear that pecans are rich in various nutrients to improve a person’s overall health. Yet, what effects make them particularly beneficial for people with diabetes? Let’s have a look at some of its research-backed benefits in overall diabetes management.
Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease is undoubtedly one of the most severe type 2 diabetes complications. Thankfully, research probing the anti-diabetic effect of nuts unearths their protecting functions against CVD and mortality from type 2 diabetes.
In one four-week randomized controlled trial that compares the effects of a pecan-rich diet with an isocaloric diet (with similar total fat and fiber content but devoid of nuts), the former yielded considerably greater changes in beta-cell function, insulin resistance, and serum insulin levels. In addition, pecan consumption minimized cardiometabolic disease risk.
Improved Glycemic Control
The maintenance of optimal blood sugar levels is key to adequate diabetes management. While the importance of antidiabetic drugs cannot be debated, supplementing with healthy nuts like pecans may help make this task a breeze.
Research on tree nuts (e.g., pecans) links their consumption to reduced diabetes risk. More importantly, their regular intake may help you attain better glycemic control. Namely, they help reduce your glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and fasting glucose levels. However, there may be a need for further research on the suitability of tree nuts as a substitute for high GI-carb meals since most existing research have a pretty short duration.
How Much Pecans Should a Diabetic Eat?
For those living with diabetes, the high-calorie content of pecans means you may have to exercise regularly if you’re bent on choosing them as a favorite snack. This is because high-calorie intake is associated with a worsened beta-cell function and insulin resistance in Hispanic women with a history of gestational diabetes and at a heightened risk for type 2 diabetes.
A 2018 Nutrients paper that examines the relationship between the intake of pecans and diabetes management suggests that incorporating just 1.5 oz of these nuts into the average American diet daily may help keep cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes at bay.
Ideas on How to Add Pecans to Your Diet
When roasted and sold as packaged treats, pecans are frequently covered in harmful oils and sugar, adding excess calories. To maximally benefit from pecan snacks, ensure you carefully examine their affixed labels. Also, it’s essential you only eat them in moderation as their excessive consumption may have far-reaching effects.
Here are some tips on how you can safely consume these delicious tree nuts:
- Use pecans as a replacement for candy
- Mix into pancake, muffin, or cookie dough
- Add to salad, oatmeal, or quinoa
- Use pecan as topping for yogurt
Aside from the antidiabetic effect of pecans, they have a role in weight loss and boosting brain health, meaning diabetics and non-diabetics can enjoy them. However, before adding this to your diabetic diet, you should consider talking to a health specialist to assess its safety.
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