Pistachios Trump Diabetes
By Brian German, Associate Editor
Just eating the right foods can benefit people diagnosed with pre-diabetes or with type 2 diabetes. Recent research* suggests including pistachios as part of a balanced diet is a sound strategy to help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And the news could increase pistachio imports into China, where the disease is rampant.
Judy Hirigoyen, vice president of global marketing for the Fresno-based American Pistachio Growers organization that represents more than 800 growers in California, Arizona and New Mexico, noted pistachios have a good future in the global diabetes epidemic, especially in China. “Believe it or not,” she explained, “one-third of the entire world’s population of diabetics lives in China. Diabetes is associated, not with overweight or obesity, but with their diet. In particular, a lot of fingers are pointed at a lot of white rice,” she said.
“The good news for the pistachio industry,” said Hirigoyen, “is the Chinese population really loves American products, including pistachios. They’re looking for healthy foods to eat, and pistachios are very widely recommended, especially as part of a diet for someone who either has diabetes or who wants to prevent pre-diabetes from developing into diabetes.”
*A study, published in Diabetes Care, suggests that pistachios may have glucose- and insulin-lowering effects and promote a healthier metabolic profile in people with pre-diabetes. (Hernandez-Alonso, P., et al. Nutrition attributes and health effects of pistachio nuts. Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr;113 Suppl 2:S79-93.)
Another study, published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, suggests that daily consumption of pistachios may shift the lipoprotein size and particle profile to a less atherogenic pattern in people with pre-diabetes. (Hernandez-Alonso, P., et al. Effect of pistachio consumption on plasma lipoprotein subclasses in pre-diabetic subjects. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Apr;25(4):396-402.)