Consuming almonds before major meals throughout the day can help in improving blood sugar levels especially among people with pre-diabetes, according to two new studies.
In a press conference today, study authors, Dr. Anoop Misra, Professor and Chairman, Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases, and Endocrinology (New Delhi) and Dr. Seema Gulati, head, Nutrition Research Group, National Diabetes, Obesity, and Cholesterol Foundation, revealed their findings which was based on Indian participants.
According to the new research studies with almonds, one conducted over three days and the other over three months, demonstrated benefits to blood sugar control for Asian Indians with prediabetes and overweight/obesity – and the three-month almond intervention broke new ground, reversing prediabetes, or glucose intolerance, to normal blood sugar levels in nearly one quarter (23.3%) of the people studied.
“In both studies, 60 people ate 20 g (0.7 oz) of almonds, around a small handful, 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the study durations. Researchers expressed their enthusiasm for these almond studies and the first-of-its-kind statistically significant reduction in measures of prediabetes by calling the reversal of prediabetes through diet “the holy grail of medicine.” Better glucose control over time through dietary strategies like including almonds could help stave off diabetes progression. Nearly 70% of individuals with prediabetes will develop diabetes within their lifetime,” the study revealed.
Both studies were randomized controlled trials funded by the Almond Board of California. The researchers hypothesized that the almond snack before major meals, known as “preloading,” would reduce glucose and insulin fluctuations after meals and reduce overall hyperglycemia compared to the control diet. The findings complement the breadth of research on different populations on how almonds support healthy blood sugar as part of a balanced diet.
“Results from our studies indicate almonds might be a key differentiator in helping regulate blood glucose levels as part of a dietary strategy. These results showcase that the simple addition of a small portion of almonds before each meal can quickly and drastically improve glycemic control in Asian Indians in India with prediabetes in just three days. Eating 20 g of almonds 30 minutes before an oral glucose load showed a significant decrease in blood sugar and hormones. Almonds’ nutritional makeup of fiber, monounsaturated fats, zinc, and magnesium work together to help provide better glycemic control and reduce hunger,” said lead author Dr. Anoop Misra, Professor and Chairman, Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases, and Endocrinology (New Delhi) during the press conference.
According to him, the outcomes provide a promising dietary strategy for reducing prediabetes progression and returning people to normal glucose regulation.
“In view of the increasing prevalence of diabetes, dietary strategies like consuming almonds 30 minutes before major meals offers a good option to decrease the spike in blood glucose levels after meals,” said Dr. Seema Gulati, head, Nutrition Research Group, National Diabetes, Obesity, and Cholesterol Foundation.
This three-month longer-term study was with overweight or obese Asian Indian adults who had prediabetes. Participants were randomized into either the almond treatment group or into the control group, and both were provided with diet and exercise counseling as well as home-use glucometers to measure their glucose levels, which were recorded in diaries along with dietary intake and exercise.
Study measures comprised a variety of anthropometrics: body weight; circumferences of waists, hips, and arms; skinfolds of customary locations of the body; and body fat estimates. Biochemical measures included insulin, blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, C-peptide, glucagon, proinsulin, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and lipids.
Dr. Gulati told Financial Express.com that these findings can also be implemented for Type 1 Diabetes also. To this Dr. Misra added that these almonds are showing statistically significant reduction similar to pre-meal medications.
A one-ounce (28 g) serving of almonds provides 4 g (14% DV) fiber and 15 essential nutrients, including: 77 mg (20% DV) magnesium, 210 mg (4% DV) potassium, and 7.27 mg (50% DV) vitamin E, making them a perfect nutrient-rich snack for those with impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes.
Almonds’ nutritional makeup of fibre, monounsaturated fats, zinc, and magnesium work together to help provide better glycemic control and reduce hunger, the researchers said.