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Type 2 Diabetes Risk Reduced by Eating Pistachios
- Updated: September 2, 2014
Not only are pistachios delicious to eat, a new Spanish study suggests they may offer incredible health-related benefits. Researchers associated with this new trial found that people with “pre-diabetes” who eat pistachios daily may have a lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Individuals with “pre-diabetes” have higher than normal blood sugar levels but have not yet hit the diabetes range. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as much as 30% of these people will develop Type 2 Diabetes within five years if appropriate changes are not made.
From the study, it was shown that people with “pre-diabetes” who consumed just two ounces of pistachios a day had dramatic reductions in blood sugar but also insulin levels. Researchers also discovered a marked improvement in processing of glucose and insulin, and as a surprise, significant drop in inflammation.
As reported by an author of Diabetes Care, several studies have been conducted over the past several years involving nuts and how they affect various health-related problems. These studies confirmed a direct link between nuts, to include pistachios, and less risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.
As part of the four-month Spanish study, 54 adults with “pre-diabetes” were divided into two groups. All of the participants were asked to follow a specific menu, consisting of seasonal recipes broken down by 50% carbohydrates, 35% fat, and 15% protein.
One group of adults was provided two ounces of pistachios as part of their daily diet and to keep calories even, the second group was advised to include olive oil, as well as other fats, opposed to eating pistachios.
At the end of the four months, the group with “pre-diabetes” had decreased fasting blood sugar levels, as well as hormonal and insulin markers of insulin resistance whereas there was no change in the second group who did not consume pistachios. Researchers also found that signaling for circulating inflammatory molecules and glucose-use by immune cells associated with inflammation declined.
As stated by the director of the Lipid Clinic of the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service at Hospital Clinic in Barcelona Spain, Dr. Emilio Ros, while the main focus of the study was on pistachios, all nuts appear to offer beneficial effects on glucose metabolism because of a shared composition.
The study was funded by Paramount Farms and American Pistachio Growers and after reviewing the data, researchers from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid along with Universitari Hospital of Sant Joan de Reus supported the Spanish study findings. Dr. Ros went on to say that both experimental and clinical studies have always been supported by the nut industry and without their assistance studies of this kind would be impossible.
Ros believes the evidence gathered from this latest study is strong enough for medical professionals to advise patients with “pre-diabetes” to eat two ounces of pistachios, or some other type of nut, daily. Dr. Joan Sabate, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University in California adds that this new study builds on findings from previous research.
All researchers involved agree that eating nuts, to include pistachios, appears to improve critical parameters, which is extremely relevant. One huge advantage to using pistachios as a tool for reducing risk of Type 2 Diabetes is that unlike many other nuts, few people have allergies. Pistachios are also rich in energy and according to this latest study there was no weight increase for the group of participants who consumed two ounces a day.