In the past 40 years, the number of people with diabetes has quadrupled worldwide, and this upward trend is particularly steep in India. In fact, Indians have the highest annual progression to type 2 diabetes from prediabetes (around 14-18%), which requires lifestyle measures to reverse this trend. When it comes to choosing between snacks, almonds can be a simple – and tasty – nutritional strategy. A new study showed that almond snacks helped improve glucose metabolism in teenagers and young adults in India with prediabetes.Also read – Does a COVID-19 vaccination cause infertility? We know this
This randomized controlled clinical trial aimed to determine the effects of almond consumption on factors of metabolic disorder including blood sugar, lipids, insulin and selected markers of inflammation in adolescents and young adults (aged 16-25 years) with prediabetes who lived in Mumbai , India. Also Read – Breast Cancer In Men: Early Symptoms, Risk Factors Involved, And Treatment
The study was a randomized, parallel study with 275 participants (59 male, 216 female) with impaired glucose metabolism (prediabetes). At the beginning of the study, the weight, height, waist and hip circumference of the participants were measured and fasting blood samples were taken. Participants also underwent a glucose tolerance test and their lipid profiles were rated. Also Read – Mahabharat Actor Thakur Anoop Singh aka Dhritarashtra Loses 15kg in 6 Months, His Drastic Weight Loss Will Shock You
Throughout the duration of the study, participants were monitored to make sure they were sticking to their snacks. At the end of the study, participants performed a food intake assessment and the same measurements and blood tests were performed again.
In the almond group, the HbA1c (a measure of long-term blood sugar control that also serves as a diagnostic criterion for prediabetes and diabetes) decreased significantly compared to the control group. Improving blood sugar levels in the prediabetes stage can help prevent or delay the development of diabetes. In addition, the consumption of almonds significantly reduced total cholesterol and the “bad” LDL cholesterol compared to the control group, while the “good” HDL cholesterol level was maintained.
Between the almond group and the control group, there were no changes in weight, height, waist or hip circumference, biochemical markers or macronutrient intake from start to post. Inflammation 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. The fasting blood sugar level was significantly reduced in the control group compared to the almond group after the intervention. The FG: FI ratio (fasting glucose: fasting insulin) decreased in the almond group, while it increased in the control group, but was not statistically significant.
“Lifestyle changes, including improved diet and exercise for adolescents and young adults, have the potential to stop the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. The results of this study show that the change doesn’t have to be big – just taking almonds twice a day can make a difference. The study results are very promising as they show how almonds improved total and LDL cholesterol levels and reduced HbA1c levels in just 12 weeks of use, ”said study leader Dr. Jagmeet Madan PhD, Professor and Director of Sir Vithaldis Thackersey College of Home Science Home (Autonom), SNDT Women’s University (Mumbai).
One of the limitations of the study was that participants could not be blinded. Additionally, nutritional intervention studies can also trigger behavioral changes in both groups as participants are made aware of their risk during the recruitment process. More research is needed to examine the effects of almond consumption on the same interventions in other age groups and different races.
This research follows on from another study examining the potential role of almond consumption in younger people. Researchers at the University of California Merced, in a study funded by the Almond Board of California, showed that an almond morning snack can be a smart option for college students skipping breakfast. Among the freshmen who skipped breakfast the majority of them (73 men and women, 18 to 19 years old), a morning snack – either almonds or graham crackers – reduced total cholesterol and improved fasting blood sugar levels, but the benefits were greater with almonds. Those who snack on almonds got better the “good” HDL cholesterol levels and blood sugar regulation measurements during the 8-week study.
Almonds have been shown to affect glucose metabolism by lowering HbA1c levels in teenagers and young adults in India at risk of developing diabetes in just 12 weeks. Included as a snack, almonds also helped treat dyslipidemia by lowering total cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol while maintaining “good” HDL cholesterol levels. Almonds can be a nutritious snack that can replace normal snack choices and be part of a food-based strategy to prevent or delay the development of diabetes, especially in a younger population.