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New study reinforces significant role of walnuts in diet

A new study has found that keeping the diet for type 2 diabetes under control gets a lot of help from including daily amounts of foods with the right kind of fats such as walnuts.

The latest findings have been published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (EJCN). The study was conducted by a team headed by the Director of the Smart Foods Centre at the University of Wollongong, Professor Linda Tapsell.

The article at http:www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ejcn200919a.html is entitled “Long-term effects of increased dietary polyunsaturated fat from walnuts on metabolic parameters in type 2 diabetes’.

Fifty overweight adults with non-insulin treated diabetes followed a well balanced low fat diet with the Smart Foods Centre for a year.

Researchers found the group that were given 30 grams of walnuts a day had more of the good fats in their diets than those who followed a low fat diet alone.

Professor Tapsell said that both groups ate healthy diets and had low intakes of saturated fats, but the walnut group had more unsaturated fats. Most of the effects were seen in the first three months.

“As whole foods, the walnuts also delivered fibre vitamin E and other components with anti oxidant activity. The walnut group also showed improvements in insulin levels and this may have been due to the presence of good fats in the diet,” Professor Tapsell said.

She said the main point to note is that there is a lot behind the term ‘a balanced diet’.

“Eating low fat is good but this study shows that including key foods that deliver the right type of fat – in this case walnuts -- is also important.”

Professor Tapsell said the latest research confirms earlier studies conducted through her centre highlighting the benefits to be gained by harnessing the “good” oils from walnuts which are rich in polyunsaturated fats, Omega oils and vitamins.

For further information contact Professor Linda Tapsell on (02) 4221 3152.

Last reviewed: 5 May, 2009

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