By Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N

Nuts, berries and oils seem to be in the news a lot lately, thanks to the health benefits that they provide. Here is a quick review of each of those foods, along with some new ways they can help your diabetes control.


Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and most other types of nuts are great for your heart. They help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, prevent harmful heart rhythms from forming and contain L-arginine, which can help artery walls “relax.” That can help prevent clogged arteries, chest pain and possibly heart disease.

What’s new?

Nuts to the rescue. A recent Canadian study found that nuts not only help improve cholesterol levels, they can also help improve blood glucose levels. If you have type 2 diabetes, you know that if you eat too many carbohydrate-rich foods— pasta, rice, bread, cookies, potatoes, corn, peas, milk, fruit or fruit juice— your blood glucose will go too high.

In that study, researchers mixed unsalted almonds, peanuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts together. The subjects, who ate 2 ounces of the nut mixture each day in place of some of their carbohydrates, enjoyed a nice drop in their A1C. The A1C is a blood test that tells you how well your diabetes has been controlled for the past three months. People with diabetes have a lower risk of complications if they keep their A1C level below 7 percent.

Note: While eating more nuts can be helpful, don’t overdo it. Nuts are high in fat and calories and can cause you to gain weight if you eat too many of them.


Berries, such as straw-berries, blueberries, raspberries and cranberries, are rich in antioxidants, substances that fight damage caused by toxic byproducts (free radicals). Some of these byproducts come from natural cell processes in the body, while others come from environmental sources, such as cigarette smoke, pesticides and sunlight.

What’s new?

If you have type 2 diabetes and eat an antioxidant-rich diet, you may find it easier to keep your blood glucose level in a healthy range. That’s because the antioxidants can improve your body’s response to insulin. Experts in Italy who observed that benefit also believe that an antioxidantrich diet can also help metformin, a common diabetes medicine, work better in the body. They suggest that people with diabetes eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily to help improve their insulin levels. In addition to berries, carrots, capers, tomatoes, orange juice and tea are  also good sources of antioxidants.

Note: Fruits and fruit juices will raise your blood glucose level if eaten in excess. If you add them to your diet, count the carbs and check your blood glucose regularly. Adjust your intake of fruit and fruit juices, as needed, based on your blood glucose response.


There are four types of fats: two that harm and two that help. The harmful ones are saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats, found, for example, in red meat and high-fat dairy products, raise your risk of getting heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Trans fats are often found in stick margarines, shortenings and baked goods. A quick glance at a food’s Nutrition Facts label will tell you if a product contains that type of fat. Trans fats should be limited, as they raise the body’s LDL cholesterol level and increase the risk of heart disease. Try to choose foods with 0 grams of trans fat per serving.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils are the healthy oils. They are found in nuts, fish and vegetable oils, such as olive, safflower, canola and sunflower oils. They don’t seem to raise LDL cholesterol and may even help bring it down. When you cook at home or dress your salads, use these healthier oils.

What’s new?

Fish oils are great for your heart, but did you know that they can also help keep your mouth healthy? People with diabetes have a higher risk of gum disease, which can make it harder for them to control their blood glucose level. Fish oils, found in salmon, sardines, mackerel, swordfish and other fatty fish, may help prevent gum disease. The oils that seemed to offer the most help are the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Experts don’t know exactly how much fish will help, but they suggest that people who have diabetes eat fatty fish at least twice a week.

Note: Be sure to limit the amount of oil you use. All oils are high in fat and calories and may lead to weight gain if you use too much.


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About Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N (15 Articles)
Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N is the 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year (AADE). She is also a Marriage and Family Therapist, Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, former radio show host, and award-winning medical media producer. Janis is the author and co-author of APPROACHES TO BEHAVIOR: CHANGING THE DYNAMIC BETWEEN PATIENTS AND PROFESSIONALS IN DIABETES EDUCATION (ADA, 2014), DIABETES ON YOUR OWN TERMS (Marlowe & Co, 2007), SEX AND DIABETES (ADA, 2007), and THE SECRETS OF LIVING AND LOVING WITH DIABETES (Surrey Books, 2004).
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Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN—an award-winning RD, certified diabetes educator, and past national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, which received the Favorably Reviewed designation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes.

Dr. Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC, the best-selling author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn! and leading health and weight loss expert, is also known as “The Inflammation Terminator.” She has made it her mission to educate the public on the toxic effects of certain foods and lifestyle choices and how they create inflammation in the body. She is a leading authority on inflammation and its role in weight loss, preventing disease and optimizing health.

Rebecca Bitzer – MS, RD/LD, CEDRD is an award-winning Registered Dietitian, writer, speaker, blogger, and REBEL Dietitian business owner. Rebecca and her team of six Registered Dietitians have counseled thousands of clients struggling with diabetes for over twenty-five years. They work closely with each other along with internists, endocrinologists, therapists, and families.

Maureen Sullivan – RN, CDE has worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, most of them in emergency and trauma services. She is a Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and the former manager of a hospital stroke program. Maureen’s wealth of knowledge, passion for nursing and education, and ability to engage people makes her an excellent teacher and a captivating lecturer. Recently, Maureen has been concentrating on writing, speaking and teaching, as well as working on her award-winning weekly podcast, “The Health and Humor Show.”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is a nutrition communications specialist, registered dietitian in private practice, social media consultant, speaker, spokesperson and corporate consultant. She is currently the owner of Nutrition Starring YOU, LLC and Lauren strongly believes that we should “Think Healthy, not Skinny”, and “EveryBODY is unique, your diet should be too”. Lauren was co-host of the Family Food Experts Kitchen radio show, available for listening on iHeart Radio and iTunes. Also known as one of the “NutritionBabes”, Lauren co-founded, a popular Health and Wellness website in 2009. was voted one of Healthline’s Top 100 Health Blogs in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE is a clinical health psychologist and the director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH). In addition to treating patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Dr. Heyman provides training for health care providers on how to identify and address the emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes in their patients. He also works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to help them understand these issues and incorporate this information into their sales, marketing, and patient education materials. He is particularly interested in empirically supported behavioral interventions that promote behavior change and improve physical and mental health in people with diabetes.

Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and author with an expertise in nutrition communications and curriculum development. She is the co-author of “Diet Therapy in Advanced Practice Nursing” (McGraw Hill, 2014) and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition at the University of California San Francisco and University of San Diego’s graduate schools of nursing.

Dr. Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE (aka “Dr. Bev”) is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator, author and speaker. She specializes treating the emotional issues of people with diabetes. In her private practice, she provides individual, family and/or group therapy utilizing a cognitive behavior therapy orientation, combined with a spiritual approach. Her goal is to empower her patients to manage their diabetes.

Dr. Bev is the author of two self-help diabetes books. She has written numerous articles which are published in print and online – always focused on diabetes from the emotional perspective. She also speaks to audiences of people living with diabetes, as well as, to audiences of healthcare professionals and diabetes educators. Dr. Bev, herself, has been living successfully with type 1 diabetes for 40+ years.

In August 2016, Dr. Bev was honored to receive the “CDE Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from her Metropolitan NY Association of Diabetes Educators.

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND is an internationally recognized nutrition and diabetes expert with more than two decades experience. Through writing, speaking and one-on-one coaching, Jill empowers people to grab control of their health. She has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is known for her practical approach and caring attitude. Her no-nonsense strategies to eating well include foods that both taste good and are good for you.

Marlene Koch (pronounced ‘cook’) is a nationally recognized nutritionist, popular TV personality and New York Times bestselling author. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science. She is a registered dietitian and one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Marlene has taught professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation the principles of healthy cooking and eating. She has been adjunct Nutrition professor and cooking instructor for Columbus State College and the Columbus State Culinary Academy, and she is a nationally recognized expert in weight loss, diabetes, child and adolescent nutrition, and sugar substitutes.

Marlene has sold over one million cookbooks, and is a regular guest on QVC.

Barbara Ruhs – MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Neighborhood Nutrition LLC, a consulting firm focused on providing solutions to help food companies and supermarkets improve consumer health & wellness. She’s a former supermarket dietitian and has run a successful business for 17 years. A leader in the field of nutrition, her mission is to help people by impacting the way food is produced, marketed and sold. She’s a strong advocate for supermarket dietitians and believes the retail food industry has the greatest potential to impact public health.

Cheryl Orlansky has over 25 years of experience in health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management. Her first career as a registered dental hygienist led her towards a path of wellness and nutrition! Her expertise is in diabetes, weight management and cardiovascular disease for individuals and groups. She works in a large private practice including endocrinology, internal medicine, rheumatology, neurology and sleep medicine. She is an award winning dietitian with current leadership positions in state and local dietetics organizations.

She has been interviewed and quoted in media outlets for WebMD, Atlanta Sports and Fitness, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has partnered with V-103 Radio to lead supermarket tours as part of a community outreach during National Nutrition Month.

Cheryl helps her clients reach balance through lifestyle choices: cooking and eating, activity and purpose in life.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and classically-trained chef. With a passion for helping people (including her father) with diabetes, she’s author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking and the award-winning The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook, both published by the American Diabetes Association. Jackie is also author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes and Big Green Cookbook. Her next book, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook—2nd Edition, was published in 2015.

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH is the author of the best-selling book, The One One One Diet. She holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is also a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

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