Surrounded by fresh produce like this, it’s easy to forget that most us have gone from whole foods to fast foods, but a look at the world’s waistline is a sharp reminder .
In a study for the World Health Organisation in 2009 the European Association for the Study of Obesity 1.4 billion adults were overweight.
That included 200 million obese men and nearly 300 million obese women.
It’s a global public health concern being a risk factor for health problems, including hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases.
That’s why a study on preventing insulin resistance with little more than a handful of nuts is being presented to the European Congress on Obesity in Bulgaria today (Friday May 30, 2014).
The research has been carried out here at the Rovira i Virgili University in Reus, Spain.
The researchers have been studying the effects of dried fruit and nuts on our physiology for the past ten years, but the new study was funded by various groups within the pistachio industry.
The team followed two pre-diabetic groups over four months, one group was given the nuts and one group wasn’t then at the end of four months they swapped the groups allowing those who’d been denied to eat nuts.
The goal of the study was to measure the impact the nuts had on the metabolism of glucose and insulin in pre diabetic patients.
Each type of dried fruit contains specific vitamins, nutrients, minerals and antioxidants with different health benefits.
Doctor Monica Bull� a researcher on the team.
She says: «Pistachios are a type of dry fruits. And we know today, it is common knowledge, that they have a healthy effect mainly when it comes to the cardiovascular system. Preventing heart strokes and other diseases. But among dry fruits pistachios have certain particularities in terms of nutritional components that make them susceptible of playing a relevant role in type-2 diabetes.»
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the human body metabolises glucose, the body’s main source of fuel.
It means the body either develops resistance to the effects of insulin – the hormone in charge of regulating the transit of glucose, or blood sugar into the cells – or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level.
Too much glucose causes hyperglycaemia a condition which occurs can’t convert it’s blood sugar into energy.
Pre diabetes describes the state between normal and high levels of blood sugar and most patients fitting this description are prone to develop type 2 diabetes, the kind that tends to strike later in life.
The study starts from the hypothesis that regular consumption of pistachios would result in improving glycaemic and insulin levels in pre diabetic patients.
Bull� believes samples taken from the patients in the study showed their insulin level and glycaemic index improved after eating 57 grams (two ounces) of the nuts each day for four months.
Bull� says: «This study on pistachios is something new because for the first time we evaluate the effects pistachios have on glucose and insulin metabolisms. Those are the parameters that are altered in patients with type-2 diabetes. And we analyse this in a non-diabetic situation. We have to take into consideration that the patients don’t suffer type-2 diabetes but are rather in a pre diabetic stage. And this gives the study an ampler spectrum of clinical applicability.»
Participants in the study were 54 volunteers of both sexes between 25 and 65 years of age.
After the first check up the volunteers including Ana Maria Martinez met with nutritionist Cynthia Ferreira to be reminded of the importance of a healthy diet.
Martinez is a retired nurse.
She’s managed to reduce her blood glucose to 103mg from 120 mg.
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