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Are You Eating the Wrong Carbs?

Not all carbohydrates are created equal: some provide healthy nutrients, while others are more likely to simply raise your blood sugar levels. Find out what the healthiest carb choices are to add to your diet.

Looking for healthier, less-refined carb choices? These carbohydrates are minimally processed foods that are digested more slowly than refined carbs, and contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They do not typically cause rapid blood sugar spikes and should be the focus of your carbohydrate intake. Common examples include:

1. Whole grains (such as dense whole grain bread, and intact whole grains such as basmati rice, barley and quinoa)

2. Beans

3. Nuts

4.Vegetables and fruits

Add them to your grocery list and shopping cart for a healthier diet!

Nuts for Weight Loss?

Nuts may be high in fat and calories, but it turns out that they have a special property that makes them a good bet even for dieters. Find out what makes them a good choice even when you are watching your weight.

You've heard it dozens of times - nuts are good for you, but don't eat too many because they are full of fat and calories. However, research indicates that the reality is somewhat more complex - and that's good news for nut-lovers who are watching their weight. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that while a handful (about 22 kernels) of almonds contains 170 calories, only 129 calories are actually absorbed by the body. The rest are passed, because the protein and fat in them are relatively hard to digest. Even better news - after one daily handful of almonds, three percent of the calories you consume for the next 24 hours are rendered indigestible. That means if you eat 2,000 calories in a day, the almonds you ate in the morning will remove about 60 calories from that total. The effect probably applies to other kinds of nuts, although only almonds have been rigorously studied. So enjoy your nuts - their monounsaturated fat content appears to lower cardiovascular risk. And of course, they're delicious!

Sidestepping Allergic Reactions to Tree Nuts

If you’re allergic to tree nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds and others), the best way to prevent a reaction is to avoid eating them. But now researchers are exploring a way to head off the reactions to nuts by changing the shape of their proteins. This could make the nuts allergy-proof – the modified protein wouldn’t be recognized by immunoglobulin E (IgE), antibodies that initiate reactions by latching on to nut (and peanut) proteins. The research was presented on August 11, 2014 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society by investigators from the Agricultural Research Service branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Clinical trials to test immunotherapy are underway, but we’re approaching it from an agricultural perspective rather than medical. Can we change the food, instead of treating the person, so we can eliminate or reduce severe reactions?” said researcher Chris Mattison, Ph.D. As things now stand, allergic responses to nuts can range from mild itching in the mouth or skin to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Sources:
Making Cashews Safer for Those with Allergies”, American Chemical Society news release, http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/620620/?sc=mwhn, accessed August 22, 2014

Good News About Nuts

You’ve heard it dozens of times - nuts are good for you, but don’t eat too many because they are full of fat and calories. However, research indicates that the reality is somewhat more complex – and that’s good news for nut-lovers who are watching their weight. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that while a handful (about 22 kernels) of almonds contains 170 calories, only 129 calories are actually absorbed by the body. The rest are passed, because the protein and fat in them are relatively hard to digest. Even better news – after one daily handful of almonds, three percent of the calories you consume for the next 24 hours are rendered indigestible. That means if you eat 2,000 calories in a day, the almonds you ate in the morning will remove about 60 calories from that total. The effect probably applies to other kinds of nuts, although only almonds have been rigorously studied. So enjoy your nuts – their monounsaturated fat content appears to lower cardiovascular risk. And of course, they’re delicious!

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Even More Good News About Nuts

The latest study on the health effects of eating almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other tree nuts shows that individuals who eat one ounce a week of these varieties have a seven percent lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Eating two ounces per week reduces the risk by 14 percent. Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of health factors associated with substantially increased risks for cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. The study, published on January 8, 2014, in the online journal PLOS One, included 803 Seventh-day Adventists who recorded their consumption of tree nuts and peanuts, and whether they were eaten together or separately. The researchers, from Loma Linda University, reported that while overall nut consumption was linked with a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome, tree nuts specifically provide benefits independent of demographic, lifestyle and other dietary factors. The study also showed that participants who ate the most tree nuts had a “significantly lower prevalence of obesity” compared to those whose nut consumption was low. In addition to almonds, walnuts and pistachios, tree nuts include Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans and pine nuts.

Source:
Karen Jaceldo-Siegl et al,  “Tree Nuts Are Inversely Associated with Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: The Adventist Health Study-2”. PLoS ONE 9(1): e85133. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085133

Great News About Nuts

If you snack regularly on nuts, you may be prolonging your life. The latest study on this healthy snack found that individuals who ate a one-ounce serving of nuts daily (that amounts to 16-24 almonds, 16 to 18 cashews) reduced their risk of dying from any cause over three decades compared to people who didn’t eat nuts or ate fewer nuts. Researchers from Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute tracked nut consumption in some 119,000 Americans for 30 years, looking for how snacking on nuts might affect all causes of death as well as any link between nut consumption and certain health threats such as heart disease. The investigators reviewed the participants’ nut consumption when the study began and every two to four years afterward. During that period, more than 16,000 women and more than 11,000 men died. When the investigators compared study participants who ate nuts to those who didn’t, they found that eating seven one-ounce servings per week cut the risk of death from any cause by 20 percent. They also found that people who ate nuts were learner, had lower rates of obesity, lower cholesterol, less high blood sugar, and smaller waist circumferences. In addition, they ate more fruits and vegetables and exercised more than people who ate fewer nuts or didn’t eat nuts at all.

Source:
Charles S. Fuchs et al, “Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality,” New England Journal of Medicine, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1307352

More Good News About Nuts

Eating about an ounce of nuts – particularly walnuts – at least three times a week may lower your risk of dying from cancer or heart disease compared with people who don’t eat nuts. The latest study comes from Spain, where researchers looked at the effects of eating Mediterranean diets plus either olive oil or nuts vs. the effects of a low fat diet among more than 7,000 participants ages 55 to 90. Those who ate nuts had lower BMIs, smaller waists, were more physically active, were less likely to smoke and ate more vegetables, fruits and fish than those who rarely or never ate nuts, researchers reported. Rates of type 2 diabetes were lower among the nut eaters and fewer of them were on drugs for high blood pressure. Overall, study participants who reported eating nuts had 39 percent lower risk of dying during the study than non-nut-eaters, while the risk of death for those who ate walnuts was 45 percent lower, investigators wrote. The risk of death due to cardiovascular disease was 55 percent lower and their risk of dying from cancer was 40 percent lower among those who ate nuts.

Sources:
Jordi Salas-Salvadom, et al, “Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial”, BMC Medicine, 2013; 11: 164 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-164

Sabine Rohrmann and David Faeh. “Should we go nuts about nuts?", BMC Medicine, 2013; 11: 165 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-165