From: David A Gabel, ENN
Published December 17, 2010 08:10 AM

Almonds May Lower Risks of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease

There are estimated to be 20 million people in the United States with either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes by the year 2020. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of heart disease, and half of all people with diabetes die from cardiovascular complications. A previous study has found the vitamin B1 to be an effective treatment for this affliction. Now, a new study from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey suggests that an almond-enriched diet can improve insulin sensitivity and lower LDL-cholesterol levels for people with prediabetes.

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The study was published earlier this year in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. It linked the effects consuming almonds to the progressions of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Type 2 diabetes, aka adult-onset diabetes, is a condition in which the body's cells are unable to properly use insulin. Prediabetes is a condition that is a precursor for the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The test group consisted of 65 people with prediabetes, having an average age of 53.5 years. They were split into two groups, one of which consumed an almond-enriched diet. After 16 weeks, the group that ate almonds showed much improved levels of LDL-cholesterol and insulin sensitivity, lowering their risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

"We have made great strides in chronic disease research from evidence of effective treatment to evidence of effective prevention" said Dr. Michelle Wien, Assistant Research Professor in Nutrition at Loma Linda University's School of Public Health and Principal Investigator for this study. "It is promising for those with risk factors for chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, that dietary changes may help to improve factors that play a potential role in the disease development."

According to the study, consuming a diet recommended by the American Diabetes Association for 16 weeks in which 20% of the total calories come from almonds can improve LDL-cholesterol levels and measures of insulin sensitivity for people with prediabetes. These findings build on existing research which suggests that almonds are healthy for the heart. They are nutritious, aid in disease management, and lower the risk of certain chronic diseases.

Link to published study: http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/abstract/29/3/189

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