As long as you don’t have any allergies, nuts can be an amazing addition to any diet, but particularly when you have diabetes. With little to no carbohydrates and loads of protein, nuts boast some amazing qualities. Let’s dive in and see if nuts would be a good addition to your diet!
Nuts contain monounsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats are molecules that have one unsaturated carbon bond. “Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Oils rich in monounsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.”1 You may have been told to avoid nuts because they are very high in calories. Most of their calories come from these fatty acids so it is important to monitor portion sizes.
Whenever you are choosing a food, protein is a key macronutrient to focus on. Not only does it help build muscle, it is slow to digest meaning that anything you eat with it is also digested slowly. This is great for two reasons. The first is that it keeps you fuller longer which leads to less snacking. And the second is that it decreases the risk of blood sugar spikes by helping to slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream. “Nuts can help level out blood sugar spikes when eaten with carb-rich foods. The protein and fats, and possibly the phytochemicals, in tree nuts help mediate the post-prandial (after meal) blood sugar response to carb-rich foods.”2
Fiber is such an important part of a healthy diet. It helps keep you satisfied by slowing digestion. It also keeps you regular and cleans your insides sort of like a scrub brush! On average, adults eat only about 15 grams of fiber per day. The recommendations for women are 25 grams of fiber daily, and for men 38 grams daily. Eating a diet high in fiber can also promote weight loss due to the fact that you stay full and satisfied longer and may then consume fewer calories. Speak with your physician if you have concerns about weight loss.
Here are some serving sizes for nuts to give you an idea of what a portion would look like:
- 2 tbsp peanut butter = 190 calories, 8 grams carbohydrate
- 2 tbsp almond butter = 200 calories, 7 grams carbohydrate
- 2 tbsp dry roasted peanuts = 180 calories, 7 grams carbohydrate
- ¼ cup raw pistachio nutmeats = 170 calories, 8 grams carbohydrate
- ¼ cup almonds = 133 calories, 5 grams carbohydrate
- 1 oz cashews = 157 calories, 9 grams carbohydrate
- ¼ cup macadamia nuts = 240 calories, 5 grams carbohydrate
Consider adding nuts to a snack, a salad, breakfast or even dessert!
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