Walnuts and Diabetes
Due to the unstable nature of their condition, people with diabetes are forced to choose between sweet-tasting food and their health. However, nuts check all the boxes when it comes to taste and good health. They are a super snack treat for diabetics and are considered diabetes-safe due to their low carb content and high concentration of protein, fiber, and good fat.
The crunchy and delightful walnuts rank high on this list of nuts for people with diabetes. Many researchers have studied the relationship between walnuts and diabetes, as we would see in this article.
- Protein 15.2 g
- Carbohydrate 13.7 g
- Fat 65.2 g
- Fiber 6.7 g
- Sugar 2.61 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
Walnuts' Nutritional Profile
For people with diabetes, carbohydrates should be consumed in amounts just high enough to meet their energy needs and not in excess. Remarkably, shelled walnuts rank as an excellent food for people with diabetes. It offers just 13.7 g of carbs and an impressive 6.7 g of fiber.
Moreover, these nuts are ranked as a low glycemic index (GI) food with a GI of 15 and a glycemic load (GL) of just 1. This means they are less likely to cause sudden increments in blood sugar levels.
However, shelled walnuts are relatively high in calories, yielding a staggering 654 cal per cup. Although a BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care study discovered they don’t significantly affect body weight, discretion is advised in their consumption. Overall, sticking to one cup of shelled walnuts at a time seems optimal, as its carb content is just below the recommended 15 g per serving for diabetics.
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How Do Walnuts Benefit People With Diabetes?
People with type 2 diabetes are unable to break down carbs due to impaired insulin sensitivity. However, according to a 2018 study done on 34,121 individuals, walnuts increased insulin sensitivity in such patients, making them an excellent food option for this population. One of the remarkable discoveries in this study was that individuals who ate walnuts in the last 24 hours reduced their diabetes risk by a mouthwatering 50%.
These nuts are also rich in dietary fibers, resulting in a slowed absorption of sugar from the intestine. This causes more sugar to be excreted than absorbed, thereby improving blood sugar levels. In addition, the alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) content of walnuts helps reduce inflammation originating from diabetes.
Most importantly, a 2019 study on nuts like walnuts and diabetes revealed that people who ate at least five servings of tree nuts (walnuts inclusive) a week reduced their risk of developing heart disease by 20% compared to those that consumed less than one serving (1 oz) monthly. Moreover, type 2 diabetic patients who ate more than five servings of these nuts weekly had their risk of untimely death due to heart disease reduced by about 33%. The significance of this study becomes more glaring when you consider that heart disease is a prevalent diabetic complication.
Lastly, a recent study confirmed that consuming 15 g of walnut oil daily for three months reduced blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients.
Interesting Ways to Consume Walnuts for Diabetics
Although there is no specific way of eating walnuts, you can include them in your diet without affecting your blood glucose levels in the following ways:
- You can soak them overnight and consume them early in the morning
- You can choose to toast them and use them for sandwich stuffing
- Grinding and storing in a container as garnishing for salads and deserts is another way to enjoy these nuts
- You can also grind and add them to your fruit smoothie
The health benefits of walnuts are many, including the regulation of blood glucose levels. In addition to this, research has proved them capable of reducing your risk of certain diabetic complications like heart diseases. Hence, if you’re hesitant about whether to include them in your diet, you have no reason to worry anymore. However, try to consume them with discretion.
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