Effects of nut and seed consumption on markers of glucose metabolism in adults with prediabetes: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials

Br J Nutr. 2019 Aug 28;122(4):361-375. doi: 10.1017/S0007114519001338.


The primary aim was to investigate the effects of nut and seed consumption on markers of glucose metabolism in adults with prediabetes. Studies with a randomised controlled trial (RCT) design, comparing the effects of a diet containing nuts or seeds against a diet without nuts or seeds in adults with prediabetes, were considered eligible. Primary outcome measures included fasting plasma glucose (FPG), 2-h plasma glucose during oral glucose tolerance test and glycated Hb (HbA1c) concentrations. Studies were identified by searching PubMed and Scopus electronic databases and by checking full texts and reference lists of relevant records. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration's tool. We included five RCT involving 371 adults with prediabetes or at risk of diabetes; three RCT investigated the effects of whole nut consumption and two the effects of ground flaxseed consumption. Consumption of 57 g/d pistachios or mean intake of 60 g/d almonds for 4 months improved FPG and fasting plasma insulin (FPI) concentrations, insulin resistance, cellular glucose uptake in lymphocytes and β-cell function. Consumption of 56 g/d walnuts for 6 months was not found to affect FPG or HbA1c concentrations. Consumption of 13 g/d flaxseed for 3 months improved FPG and FPI concentrations and insulin resistance. In a second study, however, flaxseed consumption was not found to affect markers of glucose metabolism. The risk of bias was generally low, thus the reported results could be reliable. Further investigation of nut and seed consumption effects in the field of prediabetes is warranted.

Keywords: Nuts; Prediabetes; Seeds; Systematic reviews.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Diet*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Nuts*
  • Prediabetic State / metabolism*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic*
  • Seeds*


  • Biomarkers
  • Glucose