Eating Pistachios Helps Lower Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels In People With Prediabetes

New research shows including pistachios as part of a balanced diet is a sound strategy to help lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes

FRESNO, Calif., Nov. 10, 2014 --- According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, and another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Diet and exercise changes can help to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and new research suggests that eating pistachios may help to lower blood sugar and insulin levels while reversing some indicators of pre diabetes.

The study, published in Diabetes Care, a scientific journal of the American Diabetes Association, suggests that pistachios may have glucose- and insulin-lowering effects and promote a healthier metabolic profile in people with prediabetes. This is because the great nutrition in American-grown pistachios - protein, healthy fats and fiber - may all help lower blood glucose. The findings of this new study add to the literature on health benefits of nuts in general, and pistachios in particular. If recognized early, prediabetes can be prevented and treated. It is estimated that more than 900 million people worldwide exhibit some risk factors and if left untreated, up to seven percent annually will progress to type 2 diabetes. “Something as simple as eating pistachios may help lower blood glucose, improve insulin sensitivity and lessen your risk of diabetes, heart disease or stroke. This is good news for the many people who may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Arianna Carughi, nutrition consultant to American Pistachio Growers, “Additionally, pistachios are lower in calories than other nuts and have higher levels of bioactive compounds like lutein, beta-carotene, gamma tocopherol and phytosterols.”

This randomized, cross-over, controlled clinical study ran from 2011 to February 2013. The study consisted of 54 adults with prediabetes who were divided into two groups. One group ate two ounces of pistachios daily for four months, and then followed a control diet of olive oil and other fats instead of pistachios for four months. The second group began with the control diet followed by the pistachio diet. The diets were matched for protein, fiber and saturated fatty acids.

The researchers confirmed fasting blood sugar levels, insulin and hormonal markers decreased significantly during the pistachio diet compared to the control diet, where these levels and markers actually increased. Signs of inflammation were also reported to have decreased among the pistachio diet. In addition, neither group experienced weight gain.

This is the latest study in a growing body of research that indicates pistachios can play an important role in the diets of those who have or are at risk of developing diabetes. For more information on research related to pistachios and diabetes, visit

Supported in part by American Pistachio Growers, the study was undertaken by researchers with the Universitat Rovira I Virguli, Reus and Instituto de Salud Carolos III, both in Spain. None of the funding sources played a role in the design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data.

Hernández-Alonso P, Salas-Salvadó J, Baldrich-Mora M, Juanola-Falgarona M, Bulló M. Beneficial effect of pistachio consumption on glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, inflammation and related metabolic risk markers: a randomized clinical trial. Diabetes Care 2014; 37:1-8.

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