Diabetes Forecast

Ah, Nuts! Pistachios May Lower Diabetes Risk in Those With Prediabetes

What to Know

Prediabetes is a condition that causes elevated glucose levels that are not yet high enough to be considered diabetes. A healthy diet can help control or reverse prediabetes. And beyond preventing diabetes, it can also lower the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases, as well as other conditions such as eye, kidney, and nerve diseases. Nuts have been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease. In this study, the researchers wanted to see how pistachios may affect glucose and insulin levels in people with prediabetes.

The Study

A total of 54 Spanish adults with prediabetes joined the study. After they all ate a normal healthy diet for two weeks, they were split into two groups. For four months, one group’s diet included two ounces of pistachios per day; the other group ate the same diet but without pistachios. They then started over, with the two groups swapping diets. At intervals during the nine-month study, the researchers tracked the participants’ health information and lab tests.

The Results

Glucose and insulin levels and other signs of insulin resistance dropped while participants followed the diet with pistachio nuts. Several other measures linked to diabetes and heart disease risk also improved after the pistachio nut diet. In addition, participants had higher levels of GLP- 1, a hormone that helps to control glucose levels, after following the diet with pistachio nuts.


Eating a handful of pistachio nuts each day as part of a healthy diet may help people with prediabetes improve their health and avoid diabetes and other diseases. But because nuts are high in calories, people concerned about weight gain should adjust their diet so they can add nuts without boosting their total daily calories. This study included only people with prediabetes, so it remains unknown whether pistachios would have similar benefits for healthy people or people with diabetes.

Ah, Nuts! Beneficial effect of pistachio consumption on glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, inflammation, and related metabolic risk markers: a randomized clinical trial, by Hernández-Alonso and colleagues. Diabetes Care 2014;37:3098–3105 https://doi.org/10.2337/dc14-1431

The information on this screen does not take the place of care from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have general questions about diabetes or diabetes-related research, e-mail askada@diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2382).



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