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Ask Tufts Experts October 2012 Issue

Q: For a long time I've eaten 1.5 ounces daily of walnuts. Then I read about a study that showed a daily dose of walnuts, while reducing total and LDL cholesterol, caused an increase in fasting serum glucose. I’m prediabetic— should I be concerned?

Answer :  Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory, checked on this study care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/2/227 and answers: “This reader should not be concerned about the impact of eating walnuts on blood sugar. The increase in this parameter was statistically significant only within the group eating walnuts—but not significant when compared with the control group not eating walnuts. It is the latter comparison that is most important and accounts for the day-to-day variability in blood sugar. Further, no significant change in insulin sensitivity or plasma A1c (glycosylated hemoglobin, a measure of long-term blood sugar levels) was noted. And, importantly, the walnuts provided a benefit on endothelial (vascular) function associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, the condition for which people with type 2 diabetes should be most worried (as they are at very high risk of cardiovascular disease).”

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