Researchers in Spain have found more evidence to suggest that pistachio nuts may help prevent type 2 diabetes from developing in people at high risk of the metabolic disease.
The scientists from the Universitari Hospital of Sant Joan de Reus, in Reus, and the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid found that a daily intake of pistachios led to considerable drops in blood glucose and insulin levels and improvements in insulin and glucose processing in people with prediabetes – often a precursor to full-blown type 2 diabetes.
For the study, a group of 54 prediabetic adults were split into two groups. Both were put on a calorie-regulated diet, with 50% of energy coming from carbohydrates, 35% from fat and 15% from protein, for a period of four months.
One group also had 57 grams of pistachios added to their daily diet, while the other comparison group consumed the same calories through the addition of olive oil and other fats.
At the end of the study, fasting blood sugar levels, insulin and hormonal markers of insulin resistance had all risen in the comparison group, but had fallen in the pistachio-rich diet group. Markers of inflammation also dropped dramatically in the latter, with the team reporting decreases in glucose-use by immune cells involved in inflammation and circulating inflammatory signalling molecules, and no significant weight changes were noted in either group.
The authors concluded: “Chronic pistachio consumption is emerging as a useful nutritional strategy for the prediabetic state. Data suggests that pistachios have a glucose and insulin-lowering effect, promote a healthier metabolic profile, and reverse certain metabolic deleterious consequences of prediabetes.”
They added that although the trial specifically involved pistachios, previous studies have found encouraging evidence that eating nuts may be linked to other benefits, such as lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease.
The findings, which are published in the journal Diabetes Care, build on previous research on the potential anti-diabetic effects of pistachios.

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