In a recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, a team from Louisiana State University Agricultural Center reports a beneficial effect for tree nuts on reducing a cluster of risk factors collectively known as metabolic syndrome, which is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease.
Carol O'Neil, PhD, MPH, RD and her associates evaluated data from 13,292 men and women aged 19 and older upon enrollment in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). Twenty-four hour recall data was analyzed for the intake of almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
Nut consumers were defined as those who consumed at least ¼ ounce tree nuts per day. These participants had a decreased prevalence of metabolic syndrome risk factors that included abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, elevated fasting glucose and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in comparison with those who did not consume nuts, and a 5 percent lower overall incidence of metabolic syndrome, defined as having three or more risk factors. Additionally, nut consumers had a lower level of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, compared to nonconsumers.
"One of the more interesting findings was the fact that tree nut consumers had lower body weight, as well as lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference compared to nonconsumers," Dr O'Neil stated. "The mean weight, BMI, and waist circumference were 4.19 pounds, 0.9kg/m2 and 0.83 inches lower in consumers than nonconsumers, respectively."
Earlier research conducted by Dr O'Neil's team found that nut consumption in the United States is relatively low, and that the quality of the diet improves when nuts are added. "Tree nuts should be an integral part of a healthy diet and encouraged by health professionals—especially registered dietitians," she recommended.
Natural extracts to control sugar absorption, by Michael A. Smith, MD
We've said it before and we'll say it again: The American diet's biggest culprit is refined sugar...and avoiding it is nearly impossible in this country. Refined sugar, in a variety of forms, is all over our food supply. That's why it's important to take steps to ensure that you block most of the sugar from getting into your body in the first place.
And this is where green tea and grape seeds can help out. The nutritional compounds found in both, according to a new study, can actually inhibit the enzymes that break down simple carbohydrates. The result is fewer sugary carbs entering into your body.
Let's take a look at the study.
Researchers found that extracts from grape seeds and teas (both white and green) successfully dampened a sugary meal's impact on blood sugar levels. They did this by inhibiting the enzymes that degrade the simple carbs into their building blocks called monosaccharides.
With fewer monosaccharides available for absorption, there is less of an effect on blood sugar spikes after eating. This is very important because experts agree that a dramatic rise in blood sugar leads to a parallel rise in insulin. The end result is insulin resistance and possibly type 2 diabetes.