A study published in June in Diabetes Care suggested that nuts, such as pistachios, are a healthy food choice for people with type 2 diabetes. researchers from the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital found that people with type 2 diabetes, who ate about two ounces of tree nuts in place of carbohydrates, improved their long-term blood sugar control and lowered their cholesterol levels.
Dr. Cyril WC Kendall, study co-investigator commented, “There are two important factors in caring for diabetes: blood sugar control and heart health. This study found that eating two ounces of nuts, such as pistachios, daily as a replacement for carbohydrates improved both blood sugar (glycaemic control) and ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) in people with type 2 diabetes. This is a very exciting and promising finding about the treatment of the disease.”
Tips on trading out carbohydrates for pistachios:
• Curb the crackers. If your go-to afternoon treat consists of crackers, pretzels or chips, get your crunchy fix instead with pistachios. Not only will you get that satisfying crunch, but cracking open the shells will slow you down, naturally helping you eat less.
• Swap out sweets. Instead of reaching for an after-meal and carb-loaded cookie or slice of cake, grab a handful of pistachios. As one of the lowest calorie nuts, pistachios are a delicious, nutrient-packed option.
• Tote a tasty snack. Keep a bag of pistachios in your purse or work bag as a handy snack option. Experts agree you should steer clear of the vending machine or drive-through lines and instead enjoy heart-healthy pistachios. You can have 49 nuts per serving, more than any other tree nut.
The three-month study involved 117 people with type 2 diabetes who were randomized to one of three treatments. Groups were given about two ounces of mixed nuts, a healthy muffin control or half portions of both at about 450 calories per 2000-calorie diet. The primary outcome was change in HbA1c, a marker of blood sugar control over the previous three months. Notably, this change occurred even though they were taking medication to control their blood sugar.