Eating a half-cup of mixed nuts per day in place of carbohydrates may lower bad cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes patients.
During a new trial, researchers at the University of Toronto compared blood measurements of 117 people with type 2 diabetes that were randomly assigned to consume each day either 2 ounces (56.7 grams) of mixed nuts, or a healthy muffin or half nuts and half muffin.
The muffins were sweetened with apple concentrate and not sugar and contained similar levels of proteins and calories that each serving of nuts had, wrote the researchers in Diabetes Care.
After three months, the scientists found that those patients that consumed nuts had lower levels of blood sugar and LDL or bad cholesterol than participants in the other two groups.
In addition, the reduction in the level of HbA1c, which is a marker of blood sugar control, was significantly more in nuts-only consumers than the other participants.
"There are two important factors in caring for diabetes: blood sugar control and heart health," said senior author, Cyril W.C. Kendall who called the study "a very exciting and promising finding about the treatment" of type 2 diabetes.
"We conclude that mixed, unsalted, raw, or dry-roasted nuts have benefits for both blood glucose control and blood lipids and may be used to increase vegetable oil and protein intake in the diets of type 2 diabetic patients as part of a strategy to improve diabetes control without weight gain," researchers concluded.
However, they emphasized that diabetic patients should follow other more important healthy diet and beneficent lifestyle habits, like regular exercises if they want to have a better control on their blood sugar and cholesterol levels.