Nutritional Benefits of Pecans

A connection to pecans and altering insulin sensitivity has been discovered. From limited epidemiological-studies there appears to be an inverse or no relationship between the frequency of nut consumption and body weight. Additional studies are needed to clarify the effect of long-term consumption of nuts on body weight and their role in altering insulin sensitivity both in normal and type-2 diabetics.

https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/pecans-heart-disease-diabetes/2018/03/23/id/850443/

Evidence suggests that overall nut consumption facilitates weight loss. The data on pecans specifically causing weight loss is weak. There is research on the supporting role of eating nuts in contributing to the maintenance of a healthy weight.

Research On Pecans And Weight Gain

Several mechanisms can potentially explain why nuts do not result in weight gain: nuts are equal to energy. Nuts are nutrient dense foods with high fiber, protein, and low glycemic index (G1), all of which are dietary factors have been shown to increase satiety. The fatty acid profiles of nuts may also influence appetite suppression to some extent. Though lipids do not have the same satiating capacity as protein or carbohydrates, fatty acid chain length and degree of unsaturation have been hypothesized to influence appetite through different rates of oxidation. Regarding the pecan study from Loma Linda University, isoenergetic diets (i.e., pecan-enriched diet and control diet) were tested for their effects on blood lipids and lipoproteins. https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/131/9/2275/4687699 According to the researchers, subjects were weighed daily during the 2-week run-in period and once a week thereafter throughout the trial. Those subjects on the pecan diet tended to lose weight. Nuts are a complex matrix of nutrients. The results came back that it is likely that fatty acid availability from pecans is decreased on account of incomplete digestion and or absorption. It was found in an intervention feeding trial with pecans that the lipid content in stools was greater when subjects were on the nut diet compared to the control diet (25.2 ± 3.8 compared with 6.3 ± 1.0 g/day, P < 0.01, respectively). This represented 8.3 ± 1.1 and 2.9% ± 0.5%, P <0.001 of the dietary fat of the pecan and control diet. As we see here above the evidence supporting a healthy diet including nuts exists, We can include pecans and other nuts as part of a wholesome, healthy diet.

In the context of calorie restricted diets adding nuts generates a more lasting and greater chance of weight loss amongst obese subjects while also improving insulin sensitivity. The consumption of nuts actually creates a healthier environment in the body in general. Another encouraging factor discovered is that there seems to be be no relationship between the frequency of nut consumption and body weight. Additional studies are needed to clarify the effect of long-term consumption of nuts on body weight and their role in altering insulin sensitivity both in normal and type-2 diabetics. Th work of discovering the health benefits of nuts is well under way.

Phytochemicals And Bioactives

The composition of tree nuts along with health benefits, phytochemicals and bioactives reflect their nutraceutical potential in different food and specialty applications. Despite an increase in dietary fat content, pecan enrichment as part of a healthy diet and favorably affects plasma LDL and HDL cholesterol levels as well as lipoprotein profiles. These are major risk factors of Cardio Vascular Disease. A high MUFA-rich pecan diet is preferred to a low-fat control diet in decreasing plasma LDL cholesterol concentrations.

The presence of essential minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, the high content of heart-healthy fats, and the presence of soluble dietary fiber, bioactive components, phytochemicals (including their antioxidant and radical scavenging capacities) make the choice of pecan addition to healthy diets an important dietary consideration in assisting against the potential development of chronic disease states. These powerful antioxidants work to protect the heart against a dangerous environment full of free radicals which can seriously contribute to the development of cardio vascular disease. The evidence is clear that pecans support an environment in the body which discourages the development of disease including cardiovascular disease.

Health Benefits Of Pecan Halves

Current research is also pointing to a protective role for nuts in reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes. It has even been found to be a factor in possibly improving insulin sensitivity in obese diabetics under a weight loss situation. Obviously more research, likely mechanistic studies, is needed to support such a position and to ultimately determine whether nuts do influence insulin sensitivity in both normal and type-2 diabetic individuals.

There is also some evidence relating oxidative stress to the extent of insulin resistance. It has been suggested by some scientists that high oxidative stress promotes an impaired insulin efficacy, which in turn might aggravate the degree of oxidation. The problem is that little is still known about the antioxidant status of individuals who suffer from metabolic syndrome. Because a low antioxidant status is associated with obesity, which is high amongst subjects with metabolic syndrome, this chronic disease state may be associated with a low antioxidant status. Antioxidants are a crucial part of healing and healthy body management.

Functional Lipid Characteristics Of The Pecan

Whether the nutritional composition of nuts can help one suffering from metabolic syndrome is highly speculative. For the time being it seems to be that there is sufficient evidence to continue promoting the inclusion of nuts, including the delicious pecan, as part of healthy diets.
The pecan can play a significant role in human nutrition and health on account of its high and special nutritional components. These harmonious nutritional attributes indicate that the pecan can serve as an important healthy food in the human diet. With respect to functional lipid characteristics of the pecan, the nuts are good sources of natural antioxidants as well as many other nutritive components.

https://dl.uswr.ac.ir/bitstream/Hannan/130520/1/Tree%20Nuts%20Composition%2C%20Phytochemicals%2C%20and%20Health%20Effects%202008.pdf#page=274

Some studies are also being conducted now to find out about concentrations of sugars throughout kernel maturation. Some include the geo-locations of where pecans grow and the differences among pecans that grow in different areas. During endosperm expansion, fructose and glucose accumulated whereas during embryo and cotyledon expansion, these sugars decreased to practically nondetectable levels and sucrose content increased to maturity. Throughout maturation, total sugars decreased. Sucrose levels reported by Wood and McMeans in 1982 were —3.0g/100g. Fourie and Basson reported that mature pecan grown in South Africa contained 2.02g/100g of sucrose with small but detectable levels of inositol, glucose, and fructose (0.01, 0.01, and 0.02g/100 g, respectively).

Maturation studies completed by Wansri et al. using a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) technique for the analysis of sucrose levels in Wichita and Westem Schley cultivars found that the disaccharide continuously increased during maturation reaching 2.37 g/100 g and 2.48g/100 g in Wichita and Western Schley, respectively. Wakeling et al. reported a mean sucrose content of 1.97g/100 g for Wichita and Western Schley and that significant cultivar variations did not occur. The mean sucrose level of 1.97g/100g was derived from pecan collected in 1995-1997. It was skewed lower due to a low sucrose level in pecan collected in 1997. Individual crop year values for sucrose content were 2.65g/100 g in 1995, 2.1 g/100 g in 1996, and 1.17g/100g in 1997.

Research From 1997

The pecan grown in 1997 was, however, from stressed trees that had experienced flooding conditions. Singanusong et al. also reported the sucrose content for Western Schley grown in Australia in 1999 and 2000. Final sucrose concentrations determined were 0.92 and 0.82g/100g, respectively, for the 1999 and 2000 crop years. These investigators also noted low concentrations of raffinose (a kind of sugar) in the pecan collected in 2000.

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/jf000797d

The fatty acid profiles of nuts may also influence appetite suppression to some extent. Though lipids do not have the same satiating capacity as protein or carbohydrate, fatty acid chain length and degree of unsaturation have been hypothesized to influence appetite through different rates of oxidation. Regarding the pecan study from Loma Linda University, isoenergetic diets (i.e., pecan-enriched diet and control diet) were tested for their effects on blood lipids and lipoproteins. According to the researchers, subjects were weighed daily during the 2-week run-in period and once a week thereafter throughout the trial. Those subjects on the pecan diet tended to lose weight.

Pecans And A Variety Of Nutrients

https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/131/9/2275/4687699

Pecans are a complex matrix of nutrients. We see that it is likely that fatty acid availability from them is decreased on account of incomplete digestion and or absorption. For example, in an intervention feeding trial with pecan, the lipid content in stools was greater when subjects were on the nut diet compared to the control diet (25.2 ± 3.8 compared with 6.3 ± 1.0 g/day, P < 0.01, respectively). This represented 8.3 ± 1.1 and 2.9% ± 0.5%, P <0.001, of the dietary fat of the pecan and control diet, respectively [118]. Both chain length and degree of saturation of fat have been suggested to impact on glucose and insulin regulation. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that nuts regulate blood sugars.

Pecans And Insulin Sensitivity

Evidence to support a beneficial effect of pecans on insulin sensitivity comes from the Nurses’ Health Study. This study tells us that an inverse association between nut consumption and the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Specifically, observed for women who consumed nuts 25 times per week. The benefit was ascribed mainly to the fatty acid profile of all nuts. Also including dietary fiber or magnesium have also been reported to demonstrate an inverse relationship with the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/89/5/1643S/4596955

USDA Databank Analysis Studies The Pecan

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture Databank conducted analysis compositions reviewing the nutritional content of pecans and other nuts. The following levels per 100 g were derived from three analyses: vitamin C, 1.1 mg; thiamin, 0.66 mg; riboflavin, 0.13 mg; niacin, 1.17 mg; pantothenic acid, 0.86 mg; and folate dietary folate equivalents. Clearly, the pecan can be considered as an excellent source of niacin and food folate. Don’t forget that these nutrients have also been linked to better mental well being and more energy.

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/vitamin-b

There have been no definitive studies involving pecan consumption and the metabolic benefits in relation to body weight regulation. The pecan industry might do well with a study on pecans preventing diabetes and counteracting metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is often associated with insulin resistance and elevated insulin concentrations. There is growing evidence to suggest that tree nut consumption may have a beneficial effect. The pecan is tied with the walnut as being the second most frequently consumed tree nut in the United States. They come in right behind the almond. In light of the current obesity epidemic in North America,

No Evidence Of Nuts Causing Weight Gain

There is in fact no epidemiological evidence to support that the high energy density of nuts can cause weight gain. A number of studies point out that in Mediterranean countries the per capita consumption of nuts is almost double than that in the United States. There is a direct correlation to the rate of obesity being significantly lower with more nut consumption. Data collected from over 12,000 participants in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals revealed that body mass index (BMI) was lower in nut consumers than in those who never ate nuts (23.8 ± 0.1 kghtt vs. 25.0 ± 0.1 kg/&) despite their higher energy intakes.

https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast-area/beltsville-md-bhnrc/beltsville-human-nutrition-research-center/food-surveys-research-group/docs/past-surveys/

Fact of the matter is that the evidence on the benefits of the pecan in any diet is weighed in. Further studies will be more conclusive on exactly how much the pecan and other nuts can help with cardio vascular disease prevention and control. Far more work is to be done to understand the effects of pecans. Other nuts on also regulate blood sugar regulation and therefore diabetes. For now we can conclude that pecans won’t cause weight gain when included in a regular diet. There are both pecan pieces and pecan halves used on breakfasts, salads, and healthy deserts. Helping to fight obesity and regulate diabetes.