Almonds improve blood glucose control and cholesterol in young people

Almonds improve blood glucose control and cholesterol in young people
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Almonds improve blood glucose control and cholesterol in young people

Highlights

Researchers find that almond snacking may help improve HbA1c and blood lipids in young adults and adolescents with prediabetes.

Researchers find that almond snacking may help improve HbA1c and blood lipids in young adults and adolescents with prediabetes.

Over the last 40 years, the number of people living with diabetes globally has quadrupled and this upward trajectory is especially steep in India. In fact, Indians have the highest annual progression to type 2 diabetes from pre-diabetes (about 14-18%), which calls for lifestyle interventions to help reverse this trend.

When it comes to snack choices, almonds may be one easy - and tasty - dietary strategy. A new study showed that almond snacking helped improve glucose metabolism in adolescents and young adults in India with prediabetes.

This randomized controlled clinical trial aimed to determine the effect of almond consumption on factors of metabolic dysfunction including blood glucose, lipids, insulin, and selected inflammatory markers in adolescents and young adults (aged 16-25 years old) with prediabetes, who resided in Mumbai, India.

The study was a randomized, parallel trial of 275 participants (59 male, 216 female) with impaired glucose metabolism (prediabetes). At the start of the study, participants' weight, height, and waist and hip circumferences were measured and fasting blood samples were taken. Participants also underwent a glucose tolerance test and their lipid profiles were assessed.

There were no changes in measures of weight, height, waist or hip circumferencesor biochemical markers nor macronutrient intake between the almond group and the control from the start to post-intervention. Inflammatory markers (TNF-α and IL-6) decreased in the almond group and increased in the control group, but this was not a statistically significant result.

Fasting blood glucose levels were significantly reduced in the control group compared to the almond group post-intervention. In the almond group, FG:FI ratio (fasting glucose: fasting insulin) decreased while it increased in the control group but was not statistically significant.

"Lifestyle changes including improved nutrition and exercise targeted at teens and young adults have the potential to halt the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. Results from this study show that the change does not have to be a major one – simply including a twice-daily snack of almonds can make a difference.

The study results are very promising in showing how almonds improved total and LDL-cholesterol levels and reduced HbA1c levels in just 12 weeks of consumption," said principal investigator, Dr Jagmeet Madan PhD, Professor and Principal, Sir Vithaldis Thackersey College of Home Science (Autonomous), SNDT Women's University (Mumbai).

Limitations of the study include that participants could not be blinded. Further, nutritional intervention studies can also trigger behavioral changes in both groups as the participants are made aware of their risk during the recruitment process.

Further research is needed to investigate the effects of almond consumption on the same measures in other age groups and of different ethnicities.

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