I Have Recently Been Diagnosed with Diabetes and was Told I Have to Adjust my Diet. Can I still Enjoy Walnuts?

Yes. People with diabetes can continue to enjoy eating walnuts. With their low carbohydrate value, walnuts are a food that can fit into any style of eating – and they are good for your heart[1], too[2]! A one-ounce serving of walnuts has only 4 grams of carbohydrates – so can easily fit into your carbohydrate budget. Walnuts make a great snack to have on hand instead of having candy or chips – snack foods that might spike your blood sugars.

Diabetes is associated with a high risk for cardiovascular disease. A heart healthy style of eating is one that is encouraged for those with diabetes. Research has shown that eating walnuts can improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. One study (Diabetes Care August 2011; vol. 34, no. 8, pages 1706-1711) that included 117 type-2 diabetic subjects, showed that two ounces of nuts daily as a replacement for the same amount of calories from carbohydrate foods improved both blood sugar control and cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. Longer and larger studies are required to fully determine the possible benefit.

A registered dietitian can help you plan your meals and snacks to your calorie needs and food preferences – including the addition of walnuts to your new eating plan!

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved one of the first qualified health claims for a whole food in 2004:
  2. “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.”
  3. 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.
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