We love it when our listeners tell us about simple, easy ways to achieve health goals. That’s why we were pleased to learn about almonds to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. We were even more delighted-though not at all surprised-to find that there is good science to back this observation up.
Q. I told my doctor that almonds lowered my blood sugar and cholesterol. He saw the excellent lab results but doubted it could be due to almonds. Do you have any actual science I could show him?
Almonds to Lower Cholesterol
A. A study of 20 people with type 2 diabetes compared a standard cholesterol-lowering diet to the same diet with 2 oz. of almonds added to each daily portion (Metabolism, April, 2011). After a month, the people eating almonds had lower cholesterol and LDL cholesterol as well as lower levels of fasting insulin and blood sugar.
There are many other studies demonstrating benefits of including almonds in the diet. In one randomized, controlled trial, the participants had prediabetes. For four months, they followed an American Diabetes Association diet; half were randomly assigned to get 20 percent of their calories from almonds while the other half ate a nut-free diet. Those on the almond-enriched diet had lower LDL cholesterol and greater insulin sensitivity at the end of the study (Journal of the American College of Nutrition, June, 2010).
In another study, substituting 1.5 oz. of almonds for a high-carbohydrate snack every day reduced total and LDL cholesterol (Journal of the American Heart Association, Jan., 2015). Beneficial HDL cholesterol did not change. This diet also helped the volunteers reduce their waistlines.
Even people taking statins can lower their cholesterol further by adding 3 oz. (100 grams) of almonds to their daily diet (Journal of Clinical Lipidology, Jan-Feb, 2015).
Once you offer all this evidence, your doctor should start recommending that all his or her patients try munching on almonds to lower cholesterol. If they replace chips or cookies in the diet, there should be multiple benefits.