Walnut consumption is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes in women

By , , , ,

Background

Walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and have been shown to improve various cardiometabolic risk factors. We aimed to investigate the association between walnut intake and incident type 2 diabetes in 2 large cohort studies: the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHS II. We prospectively followed 58,063 women aged 52–77 y in NHS (1998–2008) and 79,893 women aged 35–52 y in NHS II (1999–2009) without diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline. Consumption of walnuts and other nuts was assessed every 4 y using validated food frequency questionnaires. Self-reported type 2 diabetes was confirmed by a validated supplemental questionnaire. We documented a total of 5930 incident type 2 diabetes cases during 10 y of follow-up. In the multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards model without body mass index (BMI), walnut consumption was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and the HRs (95% CIs) for participants consuming 1–3 servings/mo (1 serving = 28 g), 1 serving/wk, and ≥2 servings/wk of walnuts were 0.93 (0.88–0.99), 0.81 (0.70–0.94), and 0.67 (0.54–0.82) compared with women who never/rarely consumed walnuts (P-trend < 0.001). Further adjustment for updated BMI slightly attenuated the association and the HRs (95% CIs) were 0.96 (0.90–1.02), 0.87 (0.75–1.01), and 0.76 (0.62–0.94), respectively (P-trend = 0.002). The consumption of total nuts (P-trend < 0.001) and other tree nuts (P-trend = 0.03) was also inversely associated with risk of type 2 diabetes, and the associations were largely explained by BMI. Our results suggest that higher walnut consumption is associated with a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes in women.