Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. Jewels is the moderator of Diabetic Connect’s weekly #DCDE Twitter chat, and she and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.
Looks like the squirrels in the park are onto something; there are many healthful reasons to snack on nuts, and they can be especially helpful in managing your cholesterol—something many diabetics need to do
Aren't nuts fattening?
Herein lies the confusion — they are fattening. In fact, they are composed of 80 percent fat and up to 200 calories per ounce. The key is that they are rich in unsaturated fats, helping to balance HDL versus LDL levels of cholesterol.
That may sound scary, but have you looked at the wrapper on a candy bar or bag of chips recently?
A filling, yet low-carb snack
Here's where the benefits kick in: because of the fat, fiber and protein nuts can actually be more filling than other higher carbohydrate (and higher calorie) laden snacks.
According to Joslin Diabetes Center, dietary fiber is a kind of carbohydrate that isn't broken down by the body and has no actual affect on blood sugar. It helps with digestion and is subtracted from the overall carbohydrate count on food labels when calculating carbohydrate totals.
And health benefits can be found in almost every type of nut. According to the New York Times, nearly every study finds that nuts in the diet make significant health contributions. This isn't limited to tree nuts, but also is inclusive of peanuts.
Why are nuts so healthy?
"Like the yolk of an egg, seeds must contain nutrients that support healthy tissues. Thus, all nuts are powerhouses of biologically active substances, most of which are known to protect and promote health," says the New York Times.
Take a look at the labels, some nuts are higher in carbohydrates than others such as cashew nuts. Nut milks can also be healthy alternatives to cow's milk, but reading labels is vital as they can be packed with carbohydrates.