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Are nuts bad for diabetics: The 5 best nuts for diabetes

Nuts and Diabetes

Nuts provide a number of benefits for people with diabetes. Studies suggest that nuts may even decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that “nut consumption was associated with a decreased prevalence of selected risk factors for cardiovascular disease , type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome [138]

This page explores the various benefits of nuts for people with type 2 diabetes.

Do different nuts have different health benefits for people with diabetes?

Yes. Some nuts have benefits that others don’t.

  • Almonds contain a lot of nutrients, particularly vitamin E
  • Walnuts contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids
  • Cashews offers lots of magnesium
  • Almonds, peanuts, and pistachios all reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol

Almost all nuts offer something good for people with diabetes. Salted nuts, however, should be avoided. Excessive salt consumption is consistently linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

Nuts and cholesterol

One of the most prominent characteristics of nuts for people with diabetes is their effect on cholesterol levels. Avoiding high cholesterol levels is essential for people with diabetes, because exposure to high blood glucose levels increases the risk of the arteries narrowing.

Almonds, peanuts, and pistachios all reduce “bad” cholesterol very effectively. “Bad” cholesterol refers to small, dense particles of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), too much of which can clog the arteries.

Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and hazelnuts reduce “bad” cholesterol by increasing levels of high-density-lipoprotein (HDL), or ‘good’ cholesterol. HDL clears out ‘bad’ cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease

Nuts and the glycemic index (GI)

The glycemic index measures the speed at which your body absorbs carbohydrates All foods are ranked on the glycemic index. Nuts are low on the glycemic index, which means your body absorbs the carbohydrates slowly.

In 2007, a study in Metabolism found that adding almonds to white bread and eating nuts with pasta slowed the rate of carbohydrate absorption (although that doesn’t mean eating white bread is a good idea – you can get the same benefits from having whole grain bread, without the effect on blood glucose levels). As a result, the participants’ blood sugar levels rose much more slowly. [139]

Nuts and heart disease

People with diabetes have a significantly increased likelihood of developing heart disease. As many as 80 per cent of people with diabetes will die from a heart-related health problem, it is predicted.

Many nuts have a positive effect on heart health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular health problems and making them a great option for people with diabetes.

Almonds and walnuts, which contain a lot of vitamin E, also inhibit the development of plaque that can narrow and clog the arteries. Walnuts also have a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is a kind of unsaturated fat most commonly found in fish. Omega-3 fatty acids increase levels of “good” cholesterol.

Many nuts contain an amino acid known as L-arginine, which strengthens the walls of the artery and makes them more flexible. People with strong, flexible arteries are less likely to suffer from poor blood flow.

How many calories are in nuts?

100g of almonds contains 576 calories , which is a lot for people with diabetes. It is therefore recommended that people with type 2 diabetes who would like to lose weight limit their consumption of nuts somewhat.

On the whole, are nuts good for people with diabetes?

Yes, but the effects vary depending on the kind of nut. Most of them offer some kind of benefit, from cardiovascular health to Omega-3 oils. The best advice, then, is to incorporate a generous amount of nuts into your diet, and make sure you get a variety.

The most important nuts for people with diabetes are probably the ones that improve cardiovascular health: almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, namely. If you only incorporate a few nuts into your diet, choose these ones. But be sure to avoid the salted varieties.

The 5 best nuts for diabetes

Lifestyle has a significant impact on type 2 diabetes, with diet playing a major role. Nuts are a good source of nutrition, and they provide a range of health benefits. However, some nuts are better than others for people with diabetes.

Around 30.3 million adults in the United States have a form of diabetes. A healthful diet can help manage blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications.

Nuts are one of several foods that the American Diabetes Association lists as beneficial for people with the condition.

In this article, we describe why nuts can be of use to people with diabetes and look into five of the best nuts to incorporate into a healthful diet.

Share on PinterestAlmonds may help reduce the risk of heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes.

Nuts contain high levels of beneficial fats.

The unsaturated fats in nuts perform a range of important functions, such as supporting cell growth and protecting organs, including the heart.

Also, nuts are rich in protein, an essential nutrient, and they contain a range of other nutrients that are important for physical health, including:

  • fiber
  • vitamins, such as vitamin E
  • folate
  • thiamine
  • minerals, such as magnesium and potassium
  • carotenoids
  • antioxidants
  • phytosterols

However, not all nuts benefit people with diabetes. For example, it is important to avoid salted nuts because the salt may increase the risk of complications.

The following are the best nuts for people with diabetes:

Almonds have a range of benefits for individuals with this condition.

A study from 2011 found that incorporating almonds into the diets of participants with type 2 diabetes for 12 weeks positively affected blood sugar and reduced the risk of heart disease.

A more recent study, from 2017, looked into the effect of daily almond consumption over 24 weeks in people with type 2 diabetes. The authors found that incorporating almonds into the diet helped control blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of heart disease.

Almonds reduce the body’s levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which can block arteries. They increase the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which helps remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries. This is part of the reason why almonds reduce the risk of heart disease.

Share on PinterestWalnuts may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

Walnuts are high in calories. However, a study in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care found that they do not have a major impact on body weight or composition.

The researchers assigned 112 participants at risk of diabetes either a low-calorie diet or a diet rich in walnuts for 6 months.

They found that the walnut-enriched diet was able to improve the ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol without negatively affecting body composition.

In a study from 2018, researchers investigated the association between walnut consumption and diabetes risk in 34,121 people.

They found that people who had eaten walnuts in the past 24 hours were half as likely to have diabetes, compared with people who had eaten no nuts in this period.

Cashews can help improve the ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.

In a 2018 study, researchers gave 300 participants with type 2 diabetes either a cashew-enriched diet or a typical diabetes diet.

Those on the cashew-enriched diet had lower blood pressure and higher levels of HDL cholesterol after 12 weeks. The cashews also had no negative impact on blood glucose levels or weight.

Pistachios are relatively energy-dense, but they contain healthful amounts of fiber and beneficial fats.

As part of a 2015 study, researchers gave either a pistachio-enriched or a regular diet to participants with type 2 diabetes over 4 weeks.

They found that the ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol was significantly better in the pistachio group, in comparison with the regular diet group. Those on the pistachio diet also had lower triglyceride levels, which indicate better heart health.

Share on PinterestPeanuts are rich in protein and fiber.

Peanuts are a good source of protein and fiber. They can help with weight loss and may reduce the risk of heart disease.

One study from 2013 looked at the effect of peanuts on the diets of females with obesity who were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The researchers found that adding peanuts to cereal helped control blood sugar levels and appetite in participants. This can help with weight loss, which has a significant impact on diabetes risk.

As a diverse type of food, nuts can be easy to incorporate into a healthful diet. They can provide a good source of protein and beneficial fats for people with diabetes.

To avoid excess calorie intake, consider a serving size to be a small handful or one-fourth of a cup.

Nuts can make a simple snack. Most are safe to eat raw, and they are available in many grocery stores. People with diabetes should avoid salted varieties.

Discover more resources for living with type 2 diabetes by downloading the app T2D Healthline. The app is free and provides access to expert content on type 2 diabetes, as well as peer support through one-on-one conversations and live group discussions. Download the app for iPhone or Android.

What kind of nuts are useful for diabetes

In diabetes, many foods have to be excluded from the diet, so the menu must be thought out in such a way as to get enough nutrients and trace elements from foods that are allowed for consumption.

Nuts are useful in diabetes, their use helps to reduce blood sugar, and also reduces the level of bad cholesterol in the blood, which is deposited on the walls of blood vessels and contributes to the development of atherosclerosis.

First you need to figure out which nuts can be used in diabetes and which ones should not be consumed. Nuts are good for diabetics, because they contain a lot of protein, vegetable fats and at the same time very few carbohydrates. According to studies, the use of 50 grams of this product every day for 3 months, reduces the risk of complications.

Which nuts can be eaten with diabetes?

The most useful nuts that should be consumed with diabetes turned out to be:

  • peanuts;
  • almonds;
  • walnut, Brazil nut;
  • cashews;
  • hazelnuts;
  • pine nuts.

Can diabetics eat peanuts?

Peanuts will bring maximum benefit in diabetes if you eat up to 20 raw nuts per day. Its use helps lower blood glucose levels, as well as lower cholesterol.

The medicinal properties of the product are well studied, it contains:

  • B vitamins – essential for the nervous system and involved in active wound healing and metabolism;
  • vitamins E and D – restore skin and hair;
  • selenium – an antioxidant that slows down the aging process;
  • amino acids – strengthen the nervous system.

Peanuts also contain selenium, sodium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. There is no cholesterol in peanuts, so the risk of developing atherosclerosis is reduced.

The glycemic index of peanuts is 13. The calorie content per 100 grams of the product is 620 kcal. The recommended dose per day is 30 grams.

Can diabetics eat almonds?

Almond grains contain:

  • vitamins B, E;
  • a large amount of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium;
  • unsaturated acids, amino acids.

All these substances are actively involved in supporting the normal functioning of the brain, heart, blood vessels, and prevent a sharp jump in blood glucose after a meal.

The high fiber content and the absence of starch and cholesterol contribute to normal digestion. When it is eaten, the sensitivity of receptors to insulin increases.

There are two types of this nut: sweet and bitter. Sweet almonds are used in confectionery, pastries, and in the manufacture of marzipan. It is also consumed raw. And bitter almonds are not eaten.

The glycemic index of almonds is 10, and its calorie content per 100 grams of product is 640 kcal.

Despite all the advantages of almonds, you should not abuse them, it is advisable to eat no more than 20 pieces per day.

What are the benefits of pine nuts for diabetes?

They are worth eating because of the mass of useful nutritional properties.

The composition of pine nuts includes:

  • trace elements of copper, manganese, zinc, as well as a large amount of iodine;
  • vitamin B1, which improves memory, mental activity, slows down aging;
  • tryptophan, which improves sleep, helps eliminate insomnia.

The glycemic index is 15, and the calorie content is 670 kcal per 100 grams.

Cholesterol content is 0, so it is recommended to use pine nuts in case of diabetes. The recommended dose is 50 grams per day.

Is it possible to have hazelnuts with diabetes?

Hazelnut is a fruit of a hazelnut, which since childhood everyone is used to seeing on cakes and pastries. Its energy value surpasses even dark chocolate, a small amount of these nuts can fill you with energy for the whole day.

It is recommended to eat several hazelnut kernels every day – this reduces the risk of developing vascular diseases.

Hazelnut kernels contain:

  • trace elements and vitamins of groups B, C, E. All these substances are necessary for the normal functioning of the body;
  • fatty acids, which are necessary during active physical activity;
  • potassium, thanks to which the nut improves the functioning of the heart muscle.

Walnut contains a lot of easily digestible protein. The glycemic index of hazelnuts is only 15, with a calorie content of 620 kcal per 100 grams.

It is worth remembering that this nut may be an allergen.

Hazelnut is not recommended for exacerbations of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

Can brazil nuts be used in diabetics?

Another very tasty and healthy product for people with diabetes is Brazil nuts.

These grains contain important trace elements:

  • selenium, which is involved in metabolic processes, strengthens the immune system;
  • phosphorus – improves the condition of bone tissue.
  • fatty acids Omega 6, Omega 3
  • Fiber, which is contained in Brazil nuts, improves metabolism, has a good effect on the digestive system.

Glycemic index – 25, with a calorie content of 655 kcal. Eating brazil nuts promotes rapid absorption of glucose and lowers glucose.

Is it possible to have cashews with diabetes?

It would not be superfluous to include cashew nuts in the diet for diabetics, as they are saturated with proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. In their composition they have natural sugar, starch, fiber, which is necessary for good bowel function.

Cashews have a complex effect on the whole body:

  • The use of these nuts contributes to a smooth decrease in blood sugar and active absorption of free glucose by the muscles.
  • Enhances immune defenses.

Overweight people should better limit their intake to 15 grams per day. It is better to eat cashews raw, as a significant proportion of the nutrients are lost during processing.

Cashew nuts do not cause allergic reactions, but it is best to consult a doctor before introducing them into the diet.

What is the use of walnuts for diabetes?

If you have diabetes, you need to monitor your blood sugar and cholesterol levels so that these levels are not higher than normal. Walnut helps lower blood glucose levels, and due to its low glycemic index – 15 – is suitable for the diet of diabetics. Despite such a low glycemic index, the calorie content is 650 kcal.

Eating a few walnut kernels can keep you full for a couple of hours. Walnut kernels have a beneficial effect on metabolism. They contain iodine, vitamin C, unsaturated fats. It is recommended to eat no more than 5 cores per day.

People suffering from allergies should use this product with caution as adverse reactions from the body are possible.

which nuts can and cannot be eaten in diabetes

In diabetes, it is important to monitor the level of cholesterol and sugar in the blood: the indicators should not exceed the individual values ​​indicated by the attending physician. Of course, a lot depends on the diet.

In this article we will tell you whether nuts will be beneficial for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which varieties and in what quantity can be included in the menu.

What is important to know about nuts in diabetes

9017 9 10-40 units depending on the type

Glycemic index 10-25 units depending on the type
Insulin index
Calories High — from 550 to 718 kcal depending on the type
What is the best way to eat it Raw nuts are healthier than fried ones, because they retain all the nutrients
Nuts prolong life One study showed that nuts can prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease (1)
When not to eat nuts If a dry cloud appears when the shell opens, the kernel is not worth consume

Which nuts can be eaten in type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Studies have found that nuts are good for people with diabetes (2). We tell you which of them can be eaten with this disease, and what is their value for human health.


Photo: pixabay.com

– Almonds are rich in arginine. This is an amino acid that is involved in the relaxation of blood vessels, due to which they become more elastic, blood flow and microcirculation improve. It contains many different microelements, such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, as well as vitamins of groups B, A, C and E, – says endocrinologist of the Scandinavian Health Center Olga Zubakova . There are two types of almonds: bitter and sweet. They have a different glycemic index, nutritional composition, but it is sweet almonds that will bring great benefits to a diabetic. It restores the susceptibility of body tissues and cells to insulin, which is important for people with type 2 diabetes.

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Photo: Siegra Asmoel, globallookpress.com

This nut contains minerals: iron, iodine, zinc, selenium and others, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E, K, as a result of which circulation is activated blood and strengthen the immune system. Hazelnuts have a low glycemic index, which is extremely important for people with diabetes. According to its chemical composition, hazelnuts are close to fish oil, which is useful for diabetes.


Photo: Siegra Asmoel, globallookpress.com

Pistachios are useful for diabetics, as they can reduce the production of hormones responsible for appetite. This allows you to control body weight, which is especially important in type 2 diabetes. Also, pistachios are rich in proteins, fiber and minerals, which favorably affects the digestive tract. These nuts have a low glycemic index and are lower in calories than other nuts, making them the preferred choice for people with diabetes.


Photo: pixabay.com

In addition to essential vitamins and minerals, walnuts are extremely rich in B vitamins. These nutrients are involved in metabolic processes, strengthen bone tissue and are responsible for the health of the nervous system.

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Pine nuts

Photo: Ottfried Schreiter, globallookpress.com

— Pine nuts are one of the richest sources of arginine and vitamin E. These substances are actively involved in the correction of lipid metabolism, which is important for diabetics, — says Olga Zubakova .


Photo: Martin Dr. Baumgärtner, globallookpress.com

Nuts are loaded with protein, carbohydrates, beneficial vitamins and minerals. These substances help to reduce the level of inflammation in the body, prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity.


Photo: Ralph Kerpa, globallookpress.com

The composition includes B, PP, C vitamins, which accelerate metabolic processes in the body and promote cell renewal. This allows you to reduce the content of “bad” cholesterol in the blood and normalize hormonal levels.


Photo: fotototo, globallookpress.com

This sweet vanilla nut normalizes blood circulation, eliminates vasospasm, and increases bone strength. In addition, eating it helps to recover from physical exertion.

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What nuts should not be eaten in diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2

— Nuts in their original, unprocessed form, when consumed in moderation, will only bring benefits. What can not be said about nuts in sugar or chocolate glaze, as well as with a lot of salt. These supplements add calories to an already high-calorie food, can contribute to high blood sugar, overeating and fluid retention, which in turn can lead to high blood pressure, says endocrinologist of the clinic “MedicCity” Irina Levchak .

It is important to remember that many nuts are allergenic, especially peanuts – they account for the most significant number of adverse reactions in the body. Therefore, people prone to allergies should be extremely careful about eating nuts.

As a general rule, people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes without other conditions are not prohibited from including nuts in their diet. But for some diseases, eating these foods is contraindicated, because this can be detrimental to human health.

We tell you which nuts and under what diseases are not recommended for people with diabetes.


Walnut is contraindicated for diabetics with gastrointestinal diseases, as well as those prone to tachycardia. It should be borne in mind that almonds are a high-calorie product. Therefore, they should not be abused by overweight people.


Hazelnuts are not recommended for people with stomach problems such as gastritis or ulcers. In addition, it is worth excluding this nut from the diet of people with a diseased liver, so as not to irritate the mucous membrane.


Walnut has many benefits. But it is contraindicated in diabetics with concomitant diseases such as pancreatitis, stomach ulcers, gastritis, thrombosis of veins and arteries, inflammation of the skin. In addition, do not include it in food with diarrhea.


It is recommended to limit the consumption of cashews if a person has some health problems other than diabetes. These include, for example, kidney or bladder stones, stomach ulcers, pancreatitis. Do not lean on cashews if a person is overweight.


Nut is contraindicated for diabetics with overweight, peptic ulcer, arthrosis, arthritis, gout. It is not recommended to eat it for people prone to high blood pressure.

How many nuts can be eaten with diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2

The optimal amount of nuts that can be eaten with diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2 is 30-60 g per day. For overweight people, it is better to limit the intake of nuts to 15 g per day.

It is recommended to eat nuts raw to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients. Any flavorings and salt should be avoided. It is most useful to eat this product in the morning, not at night, so as not to cause discomfort in the stomach.

Benefits and harms of nuts in type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Eating nuts with diabetes in most cases is recommended by experts. Let’s summarize the above and outline the benefits and harms of nuts in type 1 and type 2 diabetes.


Nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for type 1 and type 2 diabetics. These substances have a beneficial effect on the health of diabetics:

  • reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol and prevent the development of atherosclerosis;
  • strengthen the heart muscle;
  • normalize processes in the gastrointestinal tract;
  • stabilize the nervous system.

Nuts have a high energy value, and in times of hunger can quickly saturate the body. Also, the benefit of eating nuts for diabetics is that they do not affect blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation in the body (3).


Nuts are allergens, the first place in this rating belongs to peanuts. Therefore, when introducing this product into the diet, you need to control your condition.

Excessive consumption of nuts can also cause harm to the body. If the dosage prescribed by the doctor is exceeded, a diabetic may develop adverse reactions in the form of prolonged headaches and cramps, and abdominal pain. The abuse of nuts can provoke rapid weight gain, which is dangerous in diabetes.

When eating nuts at night, there is a high likelihood of excessive tension in the stomach and intestines.

When eating this product, one should not forget about the rules of its storage. It is important that the nuts are stored in a dry place, because in conditions of high humidity, fungi and mold can appear that are dangerous to the human body.

Endocrinologist Reviews of Nuts for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

— Eating nuts is beneficial to the health of patients with all types of diabetes (type 1, 2, and gestational type). Nuts contain many different vitamins: A, B, C, E, as well as proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, which are not always produced independently in the body. Nuts are rich in all kinds of micro and macro elements: zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium. In addition, they contain many different essential oils, fiber and substances such as tannin, which is an anti-inflammatory substance that also helps our body,” says Olga Zubakova.

— Nuts are an excellent source of energy without a negative effect on blood glucose, with a positive effect on the condition of the walls of blood vessels, nerve fibers. Nuts can be a great snack option, including daily. It is important to observe the measure – no more than 15-20 kernels per day, and also adhere to the principle of alternating different types of nuts, – notes Irina Levchak. – Walnuts and pine nuts are considered the most useful, peanuts are slightly less useful, because they are closer to legumes. And peanuts are a strong allergen. With caution, nuts should be consumed by people with urolithiasis due to the high content of so-called oxalates in them.

Frequently asked questions and answers

Our experts, endocrinologists Irina Levchak and Olga Zubakova answer our readers’ frequently asked questions.

What kind of nuts can I have with gestational diabetes?

Experts say there are no special dietary recommendations or preferences for nuts in gestational diabetes.

— Nuts are rich in protein — a building material for all organs and systems, including the fetus. Nuts also contain fats necessary for the synthesis of sex hormones, the functioning of the nervous system. Trace elements in the composition: iron, magnesium, as well as vitamins, including folic acid, have only a positive effect during pregnancy, says Irina Levchak.

“It is important to consider that there are nuts that are more common, and there are more exotic varieties, so when using them, you need to clearly understand that a particular variety is perceived by the body normally, there are no allergic reactions,” adds Olga Zubakova. – When we talk about the use of nuts, we always focus on the fact that they should not undergo any heat treatment, smoking, salting, etc. There should not be any additives. Nuts should be eaten raw.

How do nuts affect blood sugar levels?

— Nuts in the diet of a diabetic help not only as a glucose controller. Some of the species improve the sensitivity of our tissues to the insulin that is produced by the pancreas, as well as improve the blood supply to the brain and lower extremities, and can normalize digestive processes. And due to the fatty acids in the composition, they help in the prevention of atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol levels, and normalizing lipid metabolism, notes Olga Zubakova.

Which meals can I add nuts to in case of diabetes?

— Nuts can be a self-sufficient, quick and convenient snack that won’t make your stomach feel full. But also nuts will perfectly complement cereals, cottage cheese, salads, and on holidays and low-calorie pastries.