Study Suggests Almonds May Help Maintain Insulin Sensitivity In Individuals With Prediabetes
Sheila Weiss, RD
Jenny Heap, MS, RD
Study at a Glance:
• The Diet: The study population was randomly divided into either the intervention or control group. The control group consumed a diet that conformed with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendations, which consists of 15-20% calories from protein, 10% total energy from saturated fat, 60-70% from carbohydrate and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and cholesterol <300 mg/day for 16 weeks, excluding all nuts. The intervention group consumed the ADA-recommended diet with 20% of the calories from almonds. A caveat is that although study participants in both groups were instructed to consume the same amount of calories from carbohydrates, there was less self-reported carbohydrate intake among those in the almond group and although the diets were prescribed by registered dietitians, the meals were not provided, so that the study’s diet and activity level data were based on participant report.4
• The Results: The intervention group, who were on an almond-enriched diet, showed greater improvements in fasting insulin levels (-1.78µU/ml vs. +1.47µU/ml, p=0.002), homeostasis model analysis for insulin resistance (-0.48 vs. +0.30, p=0.007), homeostasis model analysis for beta-cell function (-13.2 vs. +22.3, p=0.001) and clinically significant reductions in LDL-cholesterol (-12.4 mg/dl vs. -0.4 mg/dl, p=0.052) as compared to the nut-free group.4
• Study Limitations: The single fasting insulin sample and sample size are limitations in this study, as well as possible errors in patient self-reporting of dietary intakes and differences in carbohydrate intakes between the two groups. 4
This study contributes to the growing body of evidence that suggests that almond consumption may contribute to heart health3, Almonds offer 3.5 grams of fiber, 13 grams of unsaturated fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat per one-ounce serving.
Consumers all over the world enjoy California Almonds as a natural, wholesome and quality food product, making almonds California’s leading agricultural export in terms of value. The Almond Board of California promotes almonds through its research-based approach to all aspects of marketing, farming and production on behalf of the more than 6,000 California Almond growers and processors, many of whom are multi-generational family operations. Established in 1950 and based in Modesto, California, the Almond Board of California is a non-profit organization that administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit www.AlmondBoard.com.
Good news about fat. U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that the majority of your fat intake be unsaturated. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of fat and only 1g of saturated fat.
2 United Health Center for Health Reform and Modernization. The United States of Diabetes : Challeneges and Opportunities in the Decade Ahead. November 2010. http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/hrm/UNH_WorkingPaper5.pdf
3 Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.
4 Wien M, et al. Almond consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in adults with prediabetes. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Jun;29(3):189-97.
5 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2010. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Nutrient Data Laboratory Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl