Beneficial effect of pistachio consumption on glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, inflammation, and related metabolic risk markers: a randomized clinical trial

Diabetes Care. 2014 Nov;37(11):3098-105. doi: 10.2337/dc14-1431. Epub 2014 Aug 14.


Objective: To examine whether a pistachio-rich diet reduces the prediabetes stage and improves its metabolic risk profile.

Research design and methods: Prediabetic subjects were recruited to participate in this Spanish randomized clinical trial between 20 September 2011 and 4 February 2013. In a crossover manner, 54 subjects consumed two diets, each for 4 months: a pistachio-supplemented diet (PD) and a control diet (CD). A 2-week washout period separated study periods. Diets were isocaloric and matched for protein, fiber, and saturated fatty acids. A total of 55% of the CD calories came from carbohydrates and 30% from fat, whereas for the PD, these percentages were 50 and 35%, respectively (including 57 g/day of pistachios).

Results: Fasting glucose, insulin, and HOMA of insulin resistance decreased significantly after the PD compared with the CD. Other cardiometabolic risk markers such as fibrinogen, oxidized LDL, and platelet factor 4 significantly decreased under the PD compared with the CD (P < 0.05), whereas glucagon-like peptide-1 increased. Interleukin-6 mRNA and resistin gene expression decreased by 9 and 6%, respectively, in lymphocytes after the pistachio intervention (P < 0.05, for PD vs. CD). SLC2A4 expression increased by 69% in CD (P = 0.03, for PD vs. CD). Cellular glucose uptake by lymphocytes decreased by 78.78% during the PD (P = 0.01, PD vs. CD).

Conclusions: Chronic pistachio consumption is emerging as a useful nutritional strategy for the prediabetic state. Data suggest that pistachios have a glucose- and insulin-lowering effect, promote a healthier metabolic profile, and reverse certain metabolic deleterious consequences of prediabetes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pistacia / chemistry*
  • Prediabetic State / drug therapy*


  • Insulin
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Glucose