NEW ORLEANS, April 21, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Researchers
from Asia, North America and Europe convened at the Experimental Biology (EB)
Annual Meeting in New Orleans to present five new studies demonstrating the
impact of one small nut on the body -- the almond. Researchers got to the gut
and heart of the matter, presenting emerging research that explores gut hormones
and the gut's role in nutrient and phytochemical absorption of almonds to
examining the heart health impact of including almonds for individuals with type
2 diabetes. (1)(2)(3)(4)
The two studies examining the effect of almonds in people with type 2 diabetes
explored the impact on cardiovascular risk factors. Cardiovascular disease is
one of the leading causes of death for both men and women globally, but is of
special concern for individuals with diabetes who are two to four times more
likely to develop heart disease than their non-diabetic counterparts.(5)(6)
Previous research including nine-clinical studies have found that almonds as
part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol can help maintain
cholesterol levels and a healthy heart. The associated heart health effects of
almonds, as well as low carbohydrate content (one-ounce of almonds contains 3g
of net carbohydrates) has prompted researchers to further investigate the
benefit of adding almonds and other nuts to the diets of individuals with
Almonds Help People with Type 2 Diabetes Maintain a Healthy Heart(3)
Researchers from Taipei Medical University and Tufts University collaborated on
new research presented at EB that examined the effects of almonds on risk
factors for cardiovascular disease among 20 Chinese type 2 diabetic patients
with mildly hyperlipidemia and treated with oral hypoglycemics. Researchers
measured body fat, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, oxidative stress, blood
sugar, insulin and inflammatory biomarkers. The 12-week clinical trial had
subjects randomly assigned to receive either a NCEP Step II diet or the
almond-based diet, which was the NCEP Step II diet that added almonds to replace
20 percent of the total calorie intake. At the end of the study researchers
found that the almond diet led to a significant decrease in body fat by 1%,
total cholesterol by 8%, and LDL cholesterol by 13%. Most importantly,
researchers found that inclusion of almonds decreased blood glucose and insulin
and inflammation. Alpha-Tocopherol or vitamin E levels in the blood increased,
as well as the resistance of LDL cholesterol against oxidation, when tissues
were tested in a laboratory environment. The NCEP Step II diet also improved
cardiovascular risk factors. The changes, however, were not as clinically
meaningful as those noted with the almond diet.
Dr. Oliver Chen, lead study author from Tufts University said, "The results of
this study were very interesting, suggesting that more research needs to be
conducted to evaluate the benefit of almonds on cholesterol and insulin
resistance among individuals with type 2 diabetes from different populations."
He emphasized that more research will "provide us with a better understanding of
how day-to-day diet, genetics and lifestyle factors may influence the overall
contribution of almonds to the diet."
Study at a Glance:
Subjects: Twenty Chinese type 2 diabetic patients with mild hyperlipidemia and
treated with oral hypoglycemics.
Methods: A 12-week crossover clinical trial where subjects were randomly
assigned to receive either a NCEP Step II diet or an Almond Diet. The Almond
Diet was the NCEP Step II diet, except that almonds were added to replace 20
percent of the total caloric intake. Researchers measured body fat, glucose,
insulin, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, oxidative stress and inflammatory
Results: Researchers found that the almond diet led to a significant decrease in
body fat by 1%, total cholesterol by 8%, LDL cholesterol by 13%, blood sugar by
6.7%, and insulin by 7.9%. Changes were also noted among the inflammatory
biomarkers measured, as well as the resistance of LDL against oxidation, when
tissues were tested in a laboratory environment. Researchers also found an
increase in alpha-tocopherol or vitamin E levels in the blood. The NCEP Step II
diet also resulted in changes in cardiovascular risk factors. The changes
however were not as clinically meaningful as those noted with the almond diet.
Almonds and other Nuts May Impact HbA1c levels and Risk for Cardiovascular
Another new study presented at EB by Dr. Cyril Kendall and funded by the
International Tree Nut Council Nutrition and Research and Education Foundation
examined the impact of nuts, including almonds, on not only cardiovascular
disease risk factors, but also hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels. HbA1c is a test
used to estimate the management of blood sugar over the past two to three
months. In this three month study, 117 individuals with diabetes treated with
oral medication to help manage their blood sugar levels were randomly assigned
to receive one of three diets, a full-dose mixed nut diet (75g), half-dose mixed
nut diet (38g) and half portion of muffins or muffin diet (control). Researchers
measured HbA1c levels, serum lipids, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and
Researchers found that the full dose mixed nut diet resulted in a significant
improvement in glycemic control as indicated by a reduction in HbA1c levels
(P<0.01). There was also a significant decrease in cardiovascular risk factors,
total cholesterol (P<0.022) and LDL cholesterol (P<0.027), with the full dose
mixed nut group compared to the control group.
Lead study author Dr. Kendall from the University of Toronto explained, "These
findings build upon previous research which has found that nuts have a
beneficial role in impacting serum lipid levels, and interestingly, also suggest
that nuts may have value in promoting glycemic control." While follow-up
research is needed to explore the impact of nuts on blood sugar levels, this new
study reinforces the many potential contributions nuts, including almonds, may
have for our diets and health.
Study at a Glance:
Subjects: 120 Non-insulin dependent subjects with diabetes mellitus treated with
oral hypoglycemic agents.
Methods: In the three-month parallel study subjects were randomized to receive
one of the three treatment groups: 1) Full Dose Nut Diet-raw nuts, including
almonds were added to the subjects usual diet based on energy intake. 2)
Half-Dose Nut Diet-half-dose of nuts and half-dose of control muffin were
provided according to calorie needs. 3) Control: Whole wheat muffins were
matched with energy content of nuts provided.
One week diet histories were obtained and fasting blood samples were collected
at baseline weeks 2, 4, 8, 10 and 12 to measure cardiovascular risk factors and
glycemic control measures.
Results: There were no significant differences in HbA1c between diets, although
after the full-dose nut diet there was a significant reduction from baseline in
HbA1c levels (p<0.01) compared to the half-dose nut, and the muffin alone. There
were significant differences between the full-dose nut group and the muffin
group for total cholesterol (p=0.022) and LDL cholesterol (p=0.027).
For more information on almonds or these studies, please visit
The Almond Board of California administers a grower-enacted Federal Marketing
Order under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture.
Established in 1950, the Board's charge is to promote the best quality almonds,
California's largest tree nut crop. For more information on the Almond Board of
California or almonds, visit www.AlmondsAreIn.com.
(1) Berry, S., Lapsley, K., Tydeman, E., Lewis, H., Phalora, R., Rosborough, J.,
Picout, D., Ellis, P. Manipulation of lipid bioaccessibility influences
postprandial vitamin E concentrations in healthy human subjects: implications
for implications for inflammation, oxidative stress and vascular responses.
(2) Mandalari, G., Rich, G., Bisignano, G., Parker, M., Waldron, K., Wickham, M.
Almond skins digestion using an in vitro dynamic gastric model: phytochemicals
release and gut health.
(3) C-Y.O., Chen, J.-F., Liu, C.-M., Chen. Almonds ameliorate risk factors of
cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetes.
(4) Kendall, C., Esfahani, A.,Parker, T., Banach, M., Mitchell, S., Jenkins, D.
Longer-term effects nuts on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes.
(5) World Health Organization. www.who.org
(6) American Heart Association www.aha.org
SOURCE Almond Board of California