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Walnuts Reduce Risk of Diabetes

Mar 7, 2013

Walnut consumption can reduce risk for type 2 diabetes in women….

Walnuts rich with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and alpha-linolenic acid (the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid) can reduce insulin resistance.


A group of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health followed 58,063 women aged 52-77 years old from 1998 to 2008 and 79,893 women aged 35-52 years old from 1999-2009, both groups without diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline, to study the relationship between walnut consumption and diabetes. The findings showed that two or more servings (1 serving = 28 grams) of walnut can reduce 21 percent and 15 percent risk for type 2 diabetes in those two groups respectively.

Researchers found that walnuts contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) while other nuts mainly have monosaturated fatty acids. More importantly, the walnut is the only nut that has a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. Those fatty acids that walnuts contain can help reduce insulin resistance.

According to diabetes and obesity expert David Katz, MD, “Observational studies can’t prove cause and effect, but when associations are seen in large populations, and occur in a well established context, cause and effect may reliably be inferred.” He suggests, “The findings here — the kind often seen with powerful pharmaceuticals — are robust, and remarkable. They strongly indicate the importance of consuming whole foods, such as walnuts, in the fight against diabetes.”

Pan A, Sun Q, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Walnut Consumption Is Associated With Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women. J. Nutr. 2013 jn.112.172171; first published online February 20, 2013.