Posts Tagged “American Pistachio Growers”

American-Grown Pistachio Consumption Increases Globally

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pistachioby American Pistachio Growers

FRESNO, Calif. — American-grown pistachio consumption numbers are up globally and have increased substantially in international markets between 2015 and 2017.  This is according to a report released recently by California State University, Fresno (CSUF) Department of Agricultural Business, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

The trend is welcomed by nutrition experts who tout the virtues of pistachios for their health properties. According to nutrition expert Mike Roussell, Ph.D., “Pistachios are the perfect addition to any eating plan for health-minded individuals as they offer a number of health benefits which result from their strong nutritional values, key amino acids, healthy fats, minerals like magnesium, and dietary fiber.”

The United States remains the largest producer of pistachios in the world with approximately 99 percent grown in California, where climate and precision agricultural practices produce high quality nuts. Paired with the fact that approximately 70 percent of pistachios grown in the U.S. are exported, this data shows how popular the nut is worldwide.

This increase in demand is likely due to global health trends and a growing body of scientific research that ties pistachios to a wide range of benefits, including weight management, blood sugar control and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

“We’re finding that not only is overall consumption of U.S. pistachios increasing, but consumers are also broadening their consumption timeframe,” said American Pistachio Growers (APG) Vice President of Global Marketing Judy Hirigoyen. “While nuts have traditionally been consumed during winter months and holidays, we’re seeing increases during spring and summer months as consumers learn about the health attributes pistachios have for athletic individuals and weight management.”

For this study, trends were reviewed in China, South Korea, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom – seven nations considered to be primary trade partners for U.S. pistachios. Additionally, the study includes India as an important emerging market. For the report, CSUF researchers used data for total pounds of pistachios traded across borders accessed from the Global Trade Atlas (GTA).

Global Pistachio Consumption

Germany has no in-country pistachio production, but has seen 84.2 percent growth in consumption over a three-year period. The U.S. share of market in 2017 was 45.4 percent, up 16.1 percent since 2015.

Spain has new plantings of pistachios, most of which will come into production within the next two to three years. There has been a consumption increase of 29.8 percent since 2015. U.S. share of market in 2017 was 31.7 percent, an increase of 31.6 percent since 2015.

Italy produces the Bronte pistachio, prized for its dark green color. Consumption of in-shell pistachios over the past three years has risen 41.2 percent. U.S. share of market in 2017 was 31 percent, an increase of 41.2 percent over 2015.

France produces no pistachios, and has seen a 20.1 percent consumption increase over the past three years. U.S. share of market in 2017 was 42.6 percent, which is 1.7 percent lower than 2015 share, although overall volume for U.S. product is up.

United Kingdom produces no pistachios. Since 2015, there has been a 34.4 percent decline in overall pistachio consumption. However, the U.S. gained 219.6 percent share of market in 2017, with a share of 68.6 percent, thus more than doubling consumption of American pistachios.

South Korea has no pistachio production. There has been a 47.2 percent increase of pistachio consumption since 2015. The U.S. has maintained nearly 100 percent share of market in South Korea.

India’s pistachio market is dominated by Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, which have conducted pistachio trade with India for hundreds of years. However, the U.S. pistachio industry has seen its market share grow 146.7 percent over the past year. Overall consumption of the nut has increased by 49.6 percent over the past three years.

China has nominal pistachio production and is, by far, the largest consuming nation of pistachios. There has been an increase of 182.4 percent in consumption over the past three years. The U.S. share of the market totaled 96.6 percent in 2017, a 74 percent increase over three years.

About American Pistachio Growers

American Pistachio Growers is a trade association representing more than 800 members who are pistachio growers, processors and industry partners in California, Arizona and New Mexico. For more information, visit

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New Study Highlights The Health Benefits Of Eating Pistachios

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DSCN2875+1By The American Pistachio Growers

FRESNO, Calif. — Eating pistachio nuts does not contribute to weight gain or an increased body mass index – a measure of body fat based on height and weight – when included in a balanced diet, according to a scientific review of several clinical studies. This is among the many findings described in a review article published in the British Journal of Nutrition titled, “Nutrition attributes and health effects of pistachio nuts.” The article analyzes the results of more than 100 research studies and clinical trials regarding nut consumption and health, highlighting the potential health benefits of pistachios, which are a source of plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals and also a good source of fiber.

Pistachios and Weight Management

Reviewers analyzed randomized controlled trials that looked at pistachios’ effect on body weight and found that diets that include pistachios have not been linked to weight gain. In fact, one study found a decrease in body mass index, and another noted a significant decrease in waist circumference for those who ate pistachios.

An important component of weight management is satiety, the feeling of fullness after eating, and evidence shows that all nuts help promote satiety, suppress hunger and inhibit eating.

Heart Disease

Researchers also looked at five studies that examined the effects of pistachios on heart disease. Many of the studies found that diets that include pistachios tend to be linked to significantly lowered cholesterol and blood pressure levels, even for those who are at high risk of diabetes.


Researchers found that a one-ounce serving of pistachios (about 49 nuts) provides 10 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein and 11 percent of the RDA of fiber for adults. With three grams of fiber per serving, pistachios rank among the top two nuts in fiber content. The authors note that fiber intake is linked to decreased weight gain and helps lower the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.

Pistachios vs Other Nuts

  • Vitamin Content: Pistachios contain Vitamin K and the B vitamins, including thiamin (B1), pyridoxine (B6), and folic acid (B9).
  • Mineral Content: Pistachios contain a number of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, and manganese, which are thought to play a role in blood pressure control, bone health management, and the prevention of several chronic diseases.
  • Antioxidant Support: Numerous studies suggest that pistachios contain phytochemicals that may act as antioxidants in the body.
  • Role in Eye Health: Pistachios contain approximately 13 times more lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids) than the next highest nut. High amounts of these carotenoids are found in the retina of the eye and are known to benefit eye health, which may help prevent vision loss associated with aging.

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Researchers Link Pistachios to Lower Blood Pressure

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DSCN4889by American Pistachio Growers

FRESNO, Calif. — Pistachio nuts, singled out among other nuts, seem to have the strongest effect on reducing blood pressure in adults. This is according to a recent review and scientific analysis of 21 clinical trials, all carried out between 1958 and 2013. The review appears online in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a publication of the American Society for Nutrition.

Hypertension contributes to more than 7 million deaths annually worldwide attributed to cardiovascular disease. While numerous studies have shown eating nuts provides cardiovascular benefits to healthy as well as to high risk individuals and those with type 2 diabetes, the authors state that, to their knowledge, no systematic review and meta-analysis of published randomized controlled trials has been conducted to assess the effect of nut consumption on blood pressure.

The researchers concluded that nut consumption can reduce blood pressure and particularly systolic blood pressure. Of the nuts studied, pistachios seemed to have the strongest effect in reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

This review and analysis included subjects with and without type 2 diabetes, recognizing the consumption of nuts could affect blood pressure in people with or without type 2 diabetes in different ways.   Subgroup analyses based on the type of nut consumed suggest that pistachios significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, where mixed nuts reduce only diastolic blood pressure. When those with type 2 diabetes were removed from the analysis, only pistachios decreased systolic blood pressure as well.

Databases were searched for randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that reported the effect of consuming single or mixed nuts including walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, peanuts and soy nuts on systolic blood pressure or diastolic blood pressure. Twenty-one trials were selected which studied 1,652 adults, ages 18-86 years.

The study points out that pistachios contain monounsaturated fatty acids and high amounts of phytosterols which may have beneficial effects on blood pressure and other nutrient qualities that lead to a reduction in oxidized LDL cholesterol and an improved antioxidant status. The study conclusion says although some medications and exercise appear to be effective in reducing blood pressure, healthy diets that include tree nuts may help to enhance their effectiveness and even result in reducing the dosage of hypertension medications.

The review was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement and was registered in an international prospective register of systematic reviews. Meta-analysis consists of applying statistical methods for combining the findings from different independent but similar studies. Reviewers followed strict criteria for including or excluding studies and then pooled and tested the data for sources of agreement or disagreement.

The authors of the study reported no funding was received for this study and none of the authors declared a conflict of interest.

About American Pistachio Growers

American Pistachio Growers (APG) is a non-profit trade association representing more than 625 grower members in California, Arizona and New Mexico. APG is governed by an 18-member board of directors who are growers and is funded entirely by growers and independent processors with the shared goal of increasing global awareness of nutritious, American-grown pistachios. The United States has been #1 in global pistachio production since 2008.

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Pistachios May Lower Blood Sugar, Insulin Levels In People With Prediabetes

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DSCN4669by American Pistachio Growers

FRESNO, Calif.- Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, and another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.  Diet and exercise changes can help to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and new research suggests that eating pistachios may help to lower blood sugar and insulin levels while reversing some indicators of prediabetes.

The study, published in Diabetes Care, a scientific journal of the American Diabetes Association, suggests that pistachios may have glucose- and insulin-lowering effects and promote a healthier metabolic profile in people with prediabetes. This is because the great nutrition in American-grown pistachios – protein, healthy fats and fiber – may all help lower blood glucose. The findings of this new study add to the literature on health benefits of nuts in general, and pistachios in particular.

If recognized early, prediabetes can be prevented and treated. It is estimated that more than 900 million people worldwide exhibit some risk factors and if left untreated, up to seven percent annually will progress to type 2 diabetes. “Something as simple as eating pistachios may help lower blood glucose, improve insulin sensitivity and lessen your risk of diabetes, heart disease or stroke. This is good news for the many people who may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Arianna Carughi, nutrition consultant to American Pistachio Growers, “Additionally, pistachios are lower in calories than other nuts and have higher levels of bioactive compounds like lutein, beta-carotene, gamma tocopherol and phytosterols.”

This randomized, cross-over, controlled clinical study ran from 2011 to February 2013. The study consisted of 54 adults with prediabetes who were divided into two groups. One group ate two ounces of pistachios daily for four months, and then followed a control diet of olive oil and other fats instead of pistachios for four months. The second group began with the control diet followed by the pistachio diet. The diets were matched for protein, fiber and saturated fatty acids.

The researchers confirmed fasting blood sugar levels, insulin and hormonal markers decreased significantly during the pistachio diet compared to the control diet, where these levels and markers actually increased. Signs of inflammation were also reported to have decreased among the pistachio diet. In addition, neither group experienced weight gain.

This is the latest study in a growing body of research that indicates pistachios can play an important role in the diets of those who have or are at risk of developing diabetes. For more information on research related to pistachios and diabetes, visit

Supported in part by American Pistachio Growers, the study was undertaken by researchers with the Universitat Rovira I Virguli, Reus and Instituto de Salud Carolos III, both in Spain. None of the funding sources played a role in the design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data.

About American Pistachio Growers

American Pistachio Growers (APG) is a non-profit voluntary agricultural trade association representing more than 650 grower members in California, Arizona and New Mexico. APG is governed by a democratically-elected board of directors and is funded entirely by growers and independent processors with the shared goal of increasing global awareness of nutritious American-grown pistachios. APG pistachios are the “Official Snack” of USA Water Polo, professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones, British pro cyclist Mark Cavendish and the Miss California Organization. For more information, visit


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Pistachios May Contribute To Heart Health In Adults With Type 2 Diabetes

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DSCN2934By American Pistachio Growers

FRESNO, Calif. — The benefits of including pistachios in a healthy diet extend to adults with type 2 diabetes, according to a Pennsylvania State University study published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Adults with well-controlled type 2 diabetes, who were otherwise healthy, participated in a randomized, controlled clinical study and showed a more positive response to stress following a diet containing pistachios than when following a standard low-fat control diet. The healthy diet, which included two servings daily of pistachios, significantly reduced peripheral vascular resistance, increased cardiac output, improved some measure of heart rate variability and importantly reduced systolic ambulatory blood pressure.

Dr. Sheila G. West, principal investigator and professor of biobehavioral health and nutritional sciences at Penn State, and her colleagues reported similar beneficial results in a study of adults with elevated LDL cholesterol and stress, published two years ago. Increasingly it has been found that pistachios, both salted and unsalted, contribute to a heart-healthy diet in high-risk groups. Pistachios contain good fats and fiber, potassium and magnesium.

In this Penn State study, test diets included a low-fat control diet with high carbohydrate snacks (27 percent fat and 7 percent saturated fat) compared to a moderate-fat diet (33 percent fat and 7 percent saturated fat) that included 3 ounces, or 20 percent of the calories, from pistachios. The servings consisted

of equal amounts of salted and unsalted nuts. All meals were provided to the 30 participants, an equal number of men and women, ages 40-74. The calorie levels for the subjects were based on the Harris-Benedict equation so that calories and body weight did not change throughout the study.

A two-week run-in period on a typical western diet preceded the first test diet. Participants discontinued all dietary supplements at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the study. These adults were then administered each test diet for four weeks, separated by two-week compliance breaks, randomized and in a counterbalanced order. At the end of each diet period, including the run-in weeks, participants underwent comprehensive testing.

Researchers measured blood pressure and total peripheral vascular resistance, both at rest and during stress tests, which consisted of holding a hand in ice water for more than two minutes and a difficult math challenge. “After the pistachio diet, blood vessels remained more relaxed and open during the stress tests,” confirmed Dr. West. She continued, “The pistachio diet reduced their bodies’ responses to stress.”

Twenty-four hour systolic blood pressure was significantly lower following the pistachio diet compared to the control diet, with the largest reduction observed during sleep. According to Dr. Kathryn Sauder, a co-investigator who conducted the measurements, “This finding was important because individuals who do not display a dip in blood pressure during sleep may be more likely to experience a cardiovascular event.”

Dr. West concluded, “A moderate-fat diet containing pistachios may be an effective intervention to reduce cardiovascular risk in persons with type 2 diabetes.” In spite of being obese and having a diabetes diagnosis, participants had normal blood pressure and only moderate dyslipidemia. However, even in relatively healthy diabetics, there is room for improvement. The results of this study suggest that a healthy diet containing pistachios can add to the protective effects of drugs for persons with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers suggested future studies should enroll larger samples, include ambulatory blood pressure as a primary outcome and test the effectiveness of pistachio consumption on cardiovascular risk factors in a free-living setting.

The study was supported by the American Pistachio Growers, Fresno, Calif., with partial support   from the National Institutes of Health-supported Clinical Research Center at Pennsylvania State University.

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Studies Show Pistachios Good for Heart, Weight Control, Pregnancies

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DSCN1634Based on the results of four recent medical studies, health-wise consumers may want to include a handful of pistachios in their daily diet. Eating nuts such as pistachios has been associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes, lower heart disease risk factors, lower body weight, and better outcomes during pregnancy.

First, a review of eight relevant studies has been published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine on the effect of pistachios on blood lipid profiles. With a single exception, all of the studies reported a decrease in the mean LDL (commonly regarded as bad) cholesterol in a range from 7.6 to 9.7% of the baseline.  Drawing from PUBMED and Loma Linda University database searches, researchers from East Carolina University and the University of Tennessee found the majority of studies reported a statistically significant improvement in HDL and LDL cholesterol ratios. They concluded that adding pistachios to a diet can benefit individuals with normal and high LDL cholesterol. This result is consistent with other studies associating nut consumption with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, as noted in the following examples.

A PREDIMED study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February focused on the cardiovascular benefits of a Mediterranean diet that’s rich in nuts and extra-virgin olive oil. Researchers looked at individuals at high risk for heart disease and found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts resulted in a substantial reduction of major cardiovascular events. A total of 7,447 persons aged 55 to 80 participated for at least four years. They did not have cardiovascular disease when the study began, but were at risk for developing it because they had diabetes or at least three major risk factors, including smoking, high blood pressure, an elevated LDL cholesterol level, obesity or overweight, or a family history of premature heart disease. In the trial the Mediterranean diet groups resulted in a relative risk reduction of approximately 30%, including a significant reduction in the risk of stroke.

In the third paper, as published in PLOS ONE, the PREDIMED study researchers looked at the same persons who were at high risk for heart disease at the start of the study and compared those who ate nuts three times per week versus those who ate them less than once a week. Subjects who ate nuts three times per week or more had a significantly lower prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. The nuts included pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and cashews.

As background, PREDIMED is an acronym for a long-term, multi-center nutritional intervention study (PREvención con Dieta MEDiterránea) that was designed to examine the effects of the Mediterranean diet in the prevention of cardiac diseases. Launched in 2003 with a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Health, it is recognized for the size of its sample (more than 7,400 subjects), the length of time (on average of four years) and its scientific rigor (randomized controlled study). Additional funding was received from the Centre Català de la Nutrició de l’Institut d’Estudis Catalans.

“Nuts, including pistachios, are rich in nutrients and filled with antioxidants, vitamins, protein and fiber that have been found to be heart healthy and not cause weight gain,” said Constance Geiger, Ph.D., R.D., Nutrition Consultant, American Pistachio Growers. She continues, “Studies show that substituting pistachios for other snacks or proteins improves the nutrient quality of the diet and is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.”

Finally, a fourth study appeared in the February issue of Diabetes Care. Led by Wei Bao, M.D., Ph.D., a research team examined the association between protein intake and gestational diabetes. A vegetable protein diet, specifically with nuts, in place of an animal protein diet, in particular red meat, was associated with a lower risk of gestational diabetes mellitus.  The study extended over a 10-year period and included more than 21,000 healthy pregnancies among the 15,294 participants of the well-known and ongoing Nurses’ Health Study II cohort study.  This study was funded by the Intramural Research Program of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health. The Nurses’ Health Study was funded by research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Pistachio Fact4s

Pistachios are a cholesterol-free snack that contains just 1.5 grams of saturated fat and 13 grams of fat per serving, the majority of which comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. A one-ounce serving of pistachios equals 49 nuts, which is more per serving than any other snack nut.  Pistachios contain as much potassium per serving (300 mg, 8%) as an orange (250 mg, 7%), making them a nutritious snack choice or ingredient to incorporate into daily diets.

About American Pistachio Growers

American Pistachio Growers is a voluntary trade association representing pistachio growers, processors and industry partners in California, Arizona and New Mexico.  These states represent 100% of domestic commercial pistachio production. APG pistachios are the “Official Snack” of USA Water Polo, professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones and the Miss California Organization. APG and its ambassadors share the goal of increasing national awareness about the nutritional benefits of pistachios. For more information, visit

Source: American Pistachio Growers

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