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The impact of pistachio intake alone or in combination with high-carbohydrate foods on post-prandial glycemia

Abstract

Background/Objectives:

Dietary strategies that reduce post-prandial glycemia are important in the prevention and treatment of diabetes and coronary heart disease (CHD). This may be achieved by addition of high-quality protein and fat contained in pistachio nuts, to carbohydrate-containing foods or meals.

Subjects/Methods:

A total of 10 healthy volunteers (3 males, 7 females); aged 48.3±6.4 years; Body mass index (BMI) 28.0±4.8 kg/m2 participated in two studies. Study 1 assessed the dose-response effect of 28, 56 and 84 g pistachios consumed alone or co-ingested with white bread (50 g available carbohydrate); Study 2 assessed the effective dose (56 g) of pistachios on post-prandial glycemia consumed with different commonly consumed carbohydrate foods (50 g available carbohydrate). Relative glycemic responses (RGRs) of study meals compared with white bread, were assessed over the 2 h post-prandial period.

Results:

The RGRs of pistachios consumed alone expressed as a percentage of white bread (100%) were: 28 g (5.7±1.8%); 56 g (3.8±1.8%); 84 g (9.3±3.2%), P<0.001. Adding pistachios to white bread resulted in a dose-dependent reduction in the RGR of the composite meal; 28 g (89.1±6.0, P=0.100); 56 g (67.3±9.8, P=0.009); 84 g (51.5±7.5, P<0.001). Addition of 56 g pistachios to carbohydrate foods significantly reduced the RGR: parboiled rice (72.5±6.0) versus rice and pistachios (58.7±5.1) (P=0.031); pasta (94.8±11.4) versus pasta and pistachios (56.4±5.0) (P=0.025); whereas for mashed potatoes (109.0±6.6) versus potatoes and pistachios, (87.4±8.0) (P=0.063) the results approached significance.

Conclusions:

Pistachios consumed alone had a minimal effect on post-prandial glycemia and when taken with a carbohydrate meal attenuated the RGR. The beneficial effects of pistachios on post-prandial glycemia could, therefore, be part of the mechanism by which nuts reduce the risk of diabetes and CHD.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the Western Pistachio Association, Fresno, CA, USA for provision of the pistachios and for funding for additional statistics. This work was supported by the Western Pistachio Association, Fresno, CA, USA and the California Pistachio Commission. DJAJ is funded by the Federal Government of Canada as a Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism.

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Correspondence to C W C Kendall.

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Competing interests

David Jenkins has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of Loblaw Brands Ltd, Sanitarium, Herbalife International, Nutritional Fundamentals for Health, Pacific Health Laboratories, Metagenics/MetaProteomics, Bayer Consumer Care, Almond Board of California, California Strawberry Commission, Orafti, Unilever and Solae. Cyril Kendall has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of Paramount Farms. David Jenkins and Cyril Kendall have received grants from Barilla, Solae, Unilever, Hain Celestial, Loblaw Brands, Sanitarium, Almond Board of California, International Tree Nut Council, California Strawberry Commission, the Western Pistachio Association, Orafti, and the Canola and Flax Councils of Canada. David Jenkins has been on the speakers’ panel for the Almond Board of California. Cyril Kendall has been on the speakers’ panel for the Almond Board of California, Paramount Farms and the International Tree Nut Council.

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Kendall, C., Josse, A., Esfahani, A. et al. The impact of pistachio intake alone or in combination with high-carbohydrate foods on post-prandial glycemia. Eur J Clin Nutr 65, 696–702 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2011.12

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Keywords

  • pistachios
  • nuts
  • glycemic index
  • glycemic load
  • diabetes

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