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Disease Prevention
Diabetes and Blood Sugar
Did you know certain food helps to keep your blood sugar and risk of diabetes in check? In fact, consuming peanuts and/or peanut butter on a daily basis cuts your risk of diabetes by a quarter (Jiang, 2002). Just a one-ounce serving of peanuts or one tablespoon of peanut butter five or more times per week was shown to offer this benefit in a major study that looked at over 80,000 women called the Nurses’ Health Study (Jiang, 2002). Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load What is more is that on a 100-point scale, peanuts have a low glycemic index (GI) of 14 and a glycemic load (GL) of 1 (Foster-Powell, 2002). Glycemic load factors in the amount of carbohydrate in a standard serving and research shows that foods with a low GI and GL may help keep blood sugar and insulin levels in optimal ranges. Additional research has shown that when peanuts or peanut butter are added to a high glycemic load meal, such as with a bagel and a glass of juice, they actually keep your blood sugar stabilized so that it does not rise too high too quickly (Johnston, 2005). Magnesium Peanuts, a good source of magnesium (10% of your Recommended Dietary Allowance), are also touted in the Dietary Guidelines as a nutrient dense food. “All vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, and lean meats and poultry…are nutrient-dense foods.” For around 160 calories, peanuts and peanut butter provide hard-to-get nutrients such as dietary fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin E, thiamin, and magnesium. Magnesium has also been linked to diabetes. In one study, over 125,000 women and men from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Harvard Physicians’ Health Study were followed to evaluate magnesium intake (Lopez-Ridaura, 2004). The findings suggested that low magnesium intake is linked with an increased risk of diabetes. In the authors’ conclusion, they suggest, “this study supports the dietary recommendation to increase consumption of major food sources of magnesium, such as whole grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.” Low magnesium intake was also linked to high type 2 diabetes incidence in The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (Kao, 1999) as well as in an analysis of seven other related studies (Larrson, 2007). It was shown in a study by researchers from the University of Giessen in Germany that “oral magnesium supplementation significantly improved fasting plasma glucose and some insulin sensitivity indices” (Mooren, 2011). This study showed to reduce diabetes risk by 15% in the subjects involved who were all overweight, insulin resistant, and non-diabetic. The success of this study suggests that administration of a magnesium supplement may act as a preventative measure for individuals at risk for metabolic syndrome. Magnesium also plays a role in metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and insulin resistance in people of all ages. Studies show an association between magnesium deficiency and insulin resistance in children (Huerta, 2005) as well as inflammation and metabolic syndrome in middle age and older adults (Song, 2005). Low blood levels may increase the risk of these conditions, but by consuming peanuts, you can boost your magnesium and improve intake of other nutrients as well. A study at Purdue University that fed peanuts on a daily basis for three weeks showed that not only was intake of magnesium increased in those fed peanuts, but blood magnesium also improved to above recommended levels (Alpher, 2003)

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