Newly Published Study Suggests Pistachios Reduce Blood Sugar Responses When Eaten With High Carbohydrate Foods
FRESNO, Calif., March 4, 2011 – A newly published study gives consumers yet another reason to reach for pistachios. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study this week suggesting that pistachios, when enjoyed with some high carbohydrate foods, decrease the blood sugar response in the body. This study reinforces that pistachios may be a smart snack choice for the prevention of diabetes and heart disease.
According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 25.8 million people in America are living with diabetes, and this statistic is on the rise due to Americans’ poor dietary habits. Ninety to 95 percent of those cases are type 2, which can often be prevented through proper diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight. Additionally, high blood sugar levels after a meal increase the risk of developing heart disease. As the leading cause of death in America, this serious health condition affects more than 81 million Americans, according to the American Heart Association.
"Pistachios are a good source of healthy fats and plant protein. When added to a carbohydrate meal, they also help to limit the rise in blood glucose, which may be a further mechanism by which pistachios reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes," said Cyril Kendall, PhD, lead researcher at the University of Toronto and author of the study.
About the Study
This study, conducted by Drs. Kendall, Josse, Esfahani and Jenkins of the University of Toronto, is titled: The impact of pistachio intake alone or in combination with high-carbohydrate foods on post-prandial glycemia. The researchers tested dietary strategies that reduce blood sugar levels after a meal for their importance in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Ten healthy volunteers participated in each of two studies. Study one assessed the dose-response effect of 1, 2 and 3 ounces of pistachios eaten alone or with white bread. Study two looked at the effect of 2 ounces of pistachios on blood sugar levels after a meal when eaten with commonly consumed carbohydrate foods, including rice, pasta and mashed potatoes.
Adding pistachios to white bread resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in blood sugar responses, i.e., the more pistachios eaten, the lower the rise in blood sugar. Adding pistachios to carbohydrate foods significantly reduced their relative blood sugar responses as well. When pistachios were consumed alone they had a minimal effect on blood sugar due to their low carbohydrate content.
“This study is very exciting because it reinforces what we’ve already known – pistachios are a nutritious and delicious part of your daily diet,” Constance Geiger, PhD, RD, CD and nutrition consultant to American Pistachio Growers. “Pistachios are a good source of fiber and have only 2 grams of sugar per serving. This research supports the recommendation that nuts, such as pistachios, should be an important part of healthy diet. “
About American Pistachio Growers
American Pistachio Growers is a voluntary trade association representing members who are pistachio growers, processors and industry partners in California, Arizona and New Mexico. These states represent 100 percent of the domestic commercial pistachio production.