135 million people worldwide suffer from type 2 diabetes mellitus, 16 million of them being in the U.S. In 2025, 300 million people across the globe are expected to be affected. This disease is associated with cardiovascular diseases, amputations, blindness and kidney failure, attaching great importance to diabetes prevention. Against this backdrop, U.S. researchers evaluated findings of the 'Nurses’ Health Study'. This large-scale study has been monitoring the nutritional patterns and the development of the state of health of more than 120,000 U.S. nurses since 1976 and is of global importance. The research team sought out nurses who, at the start of the study, had neither a history of diabetes nor heart disease or cancer. They found data pertaining to 83,818 women, aged between 34 and 59 years, who had participated in the study for 16 years. They found that the more peanut butter was consumed, the lower was the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. The risk was 80% lower in women who ate peanut butter at least 5 times a week, compared to women who almost never consumed it.
The fat in peanuts is predominantly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, positively affecting insulin sensitivity and thus protecting against the onset of type 2 diabetes. This is because insulin sensitivity determines how sensitively specific bodily organs react to the hormone insulin. In the instance of high insulin sensitivity, less insulin is needed for a particular reaction. Other peanut ingredients, such as magnesium and dietary fibre, also reduce insulin levels. Vitamins, other minerals, vegetable protein and antioxidants from peanuts are also beneficial. The team of researchers recommends eating nuts and peanut butter regularly. To ensure that the diet does not become too high in calories, processed cereal products or meat can be replaced by nuts.
Jiang R. et al.: Nut and Peanut Butter Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002; 288(20): 2554-2560