Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

For many reasons, walnuts can be a nutritious food for people living with diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes and about 23 percent of adults are affected by metabolic syndrome.1,2 Individuals with diabetes or metabolic syndrome often have conditions such as high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, high triglycerides and obesity, which increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.

Walnuts are a heart-healthy food3 with more than 25 years of research showing how they may have beneficial effects on various factors related to heart health such as LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, and plaque formation. Walnuts can also easily be part of a healthy diet that won’t contribute to weight gain or hinder weight loss goals.4,5,6 Walnuts contain important nutrients, like omega-3 ALA (2.5 g/oz), protein (4 g/oz) and fiber (2 g/oz), so they can be eaten in place of less healthy choices to improve diet quality.

Check out recipes and expert tips below.

1 https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/diabetes.htm    

2 https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MetabolicSyndrome/About-Metabolic-Syndrome_UCM_301920_Article.jsp

3 Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3.

4 Rock CL, Flatt SW, Pakiz B, et al. Effects of diet composition on weight loss, metabolic factors and biomarkers in a 1-year weight loss intervention in obese women examined by baseline insulin resistance status. Metabolism. 2016;65(11):1605-13.

5 Le T, Flatt SW, Natarajan L, et al. Effects of diet composition and insulin resistance status on plasma lipid levels in a weight loss intervention in women. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016;25;5(1):e002771.

6 Banel DK, Hu FB. Effects of walnut consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(1):56-63.