Pistachios and Diabetes
Pistachios are a kind of nut from the Cashew family.
If you're wondering whether people with diabetes can consume pistachio nuts, the answer is yes. Pistachios are diabetes-friendly because they have a low glycemic index so they won't cause a significant blood sugar response.
Moreover, pistachios are among the best nuts for people with diabetes because they're relatively low in calories compared to other nuts and offer relevant health benefits for diabetics, including but not limited to lower blood sugar levels, improved cardiovascular health, reduced oxidative stress, and even weight loss.
Moreover, pistachios are low in carbs while being relatively high in protein, fiber, and multiple nutrients. Also, most of the fats in pistachios are considered good fats. This makes them a great addition to a healthy diet.
This article will cover everything you need to know about diabetes and pistachios in detail. Here's what we'll cover:
Pistachios nutritional facts
Pistachios glycemic index
Can people with diabetes eat pistachios?
Health benefits of pistachios
Tips for eating pistachios
Let's dive in.
- Protein 20.2 g
- Carbohydrate 27.2 g
- Fat 45.3 g
- Fiber 10.6 g
- Sugar 7.66 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
Serving size: 1 ounce (approximately 49 kernels)
Fat: 12.8 g
Carbohydrates: 7.7 g
Of which fiber: 3.0 g
Of which sugars: 2.2 g
Take a quiz
Discover what Klinio app can do for you
Healthy diabetes meal plan crafted just for YOU
Personalized workouts with no equipment needed
Track your progress with smart tracking tools
The glycemic index of pistachios is about 15, which is considered low.
Yes, people with diabetes can safely indulge in pistachios. That’s because they not only have a low glycemic index but are also very low in carbohydrates, so they have a minimal effect on blood sugars.
However, it's worth noting that pistachios are relatively high in fats compared to other foods. As such, moderation is essential in order to avoid weight gain and sustain weight loss during a low-calorie diet. It's also important to avoid adding pistachios to carbohydrate meals because this can lead to weight gain.
Interestingly, pistachios can improve the health of diabetics in numerous ways, including improved glycemic control. Let's discuss them in detail.
Pistachios Promote Healthy Blood Glucose
In a study performed in 2011, participants were given pistachios in combination with different common carbohydrate foods such as bread, pasta, and rice. Results showed that pistachios significantly lowered the relative blood sugar response of the meal.
Another study consisting of a randomized trial that aimed to assess the effects of pistachios on patients with Type 2 Diabetes showed that consuming 25 grams of pistachios twice a day for 12 weeks resulted in a 9% reduction in fasting blood glucose level.
Moreover, a study exploring the effects of pistachios on women with gestational diabetes mellitus further confirmed these effects and also showed that pistachio intake resulted in lower gastric inhibitory polypeptide levels, which are associated with insulin function.
If you're wondering why exactly pistachios control blood sugar, it's because they're high in nutrients that are beneficial to blood sugar control, coupled with a high amount of fiber and healthy fats, which also aid in regulating glucose levels.
High in Fiber
Pistachios are high in fiber, and fiber is associated with numerous health benefits.
Regarding digestive health, fiber promotes healthy gut bacteria because it acts as a prebiotic.
Moreover, fiber is converted into short-chain fatty acids, improving gut health. They also have been associated with various positive outcomes, including enhanced blood sugar control, improved insulin resistance, and reduced inflammation.
Fiber is also known to reduce appetite, especially for pistachios because they’re also high in protein (which further promotes satiety). Therefore, pistachios can be considered a healthy addition to a diabetic weight-loss diet.
Good for Heart Health
According to a review, pistachios offer several benefits for heart health. They’re associated with reduced blood pressure and cholesterol, both of which are considered cardiovascular risk factors.
A review of studies performed to explore the effects of nuts on people with type 2 diabetes showed that pistachios had the most significant impact among all nuts tested in reducing systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
Evidence also proves that pistachios reduce LDL cholesterol.
Additionally, they contain high amounts of heart-healthy antioxidants.
Pistachios are a rich source of antioxidants such as lutein, β-carotene, and γ-tocopherol. They’re also high in potassium and unsaturated fatty acids, which act as antioxidants.
Antioxidants provide numerous health benefits because they lower oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is associated with numerous health problems, including heart disease, arthritis, stroke, and cancer. It also plays a vital role in developing microvascular and cardiovascular diabetic complications.
Therefore, pistachios can protect your long-term health by reducing the risk of various diseases and diabetes complications.
Improves Blood Vessel Health
Blood vessel health is important for several reasons.
When functioning correctly, blood vessels effectively deliver blood to the organs and tissues, supplying them with the necessary nutrients and oxygen for proper functioning. They’re also responsible for removing waste products from organs and tissues.
Moreover, proper blood vessel functioning is crucial for the maintenance of heart health.
Having diabetes is a risk factor for blood vessel problems, so people with diabetes need to take care of their blood vessel health.
Eating pistachios happens to be a great way to do so. They’re high in L-arginine, an amino acid converted to nitric oxide, a compound that increases vasodilation and improves blood vessel health.
In a 4-week study published in the Nutrition journal, a group of participants consumed 20% of their calories from pistachios, and another group followed a Mediterranean diet.
The pistachio group displayed a 30% improvement in endothelium-dependent vasodilation.
Pistachios can also help you lose weight.
A study published by the Nutrition Journal showed that overweight participants who consumed 20% of their calories from pistachios for 24 weeks displayed an additional loss of 1.5cm from their waistlines compared to the control group, in which participants followed a diet without pistachio consumption.
The weight-loss effect of pistachios can be attributed to various reasons.
As we mentioned, pistachios can help you regulate your blood sugar level, which aids in weight loss. They're also high in fiber and protein while low in carbohydrates, promoting fullness and making it easier to maintain a caloric deficit while having minimal effects on blood sugar.
Moreover, studies involving nut consumption suggest that the fat content from nuts is not fully digested in the gut. This means that the actual caloric effect is lower than expected.
Good Source of Vitamin B6 and Copper
A 1-ounce serving of pistachios provides 28% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B6 and 41% of Copper.
Vitamin B6 greatly protects against diabetic complications while also improving brain health, boosting mood, preventing cancer and heart disease, and promoting eye health.
Copper displays protective effects on cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, bone health, blood vessel health, and immunity.
Now that we've covered pistachios' health benefits let's discuss some tips on how to consume pistachios to avoid complications.
Eat In-Shell Pistachios
A study that compared the consumption of in-shell pistachios to shelled pistachios showed that participants who had in-shell pistachios consumed 41% fewer calories.
Eating in-shell pistachios is advisable to maintain a caloric deficit easily.
Avoid Eating Pistachios With a Carbohydrate-Rich Meal
Even though pistachios can help you lose weight, they're relatively high in fat compared to other foods.
To maintain diet quality, it's important not to combine them with carbohydrates. This is because when fats are combined with carbohydrates, the meal feels more rewarding, and this can lead to overeating.
Choose Healthy Pistachio Recipes
Pistachios are healthy, but if paired with the wrong foods, they can lead to weight gain. As previously mentioned, it's advisable to avoid common carbohydrate foods as part of a meal with pistachios.
Consuming pistachios or adding pistachios to foods high in protein and low in carbs, such as fish, meat, poultry, and dairy, are two ways to ensure healthy pistachio consumption.
To enhance the satiety of pistachios and further regulate blood sugar levels, try to consume them with high-fiber foods or fiber supplements like Psyllium Husk.
Pistachios are a great addition to a diabetic diet as long as they're consumed in moderation. To ensure that, you can try using the Klinio app. It allows you to track your food intake and manage your diet conveniently.
Download Klinio app!
Get more by downloading our free Klinio App. Analyze your health, form new habits and manage your diabetes anytime, anywhere.
SCAN QR CODE
GET THE APP