Posts Tagged “type 2 diabetes”

Study Suggests Anthocyanins In Strawberries Improve Insulin Resistance

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DSCN7180By California Strawberry Commission

WATSONVILLE, Calif. — According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.  Food plays an important role in the life of a diabetic and the ADA identifies berries, including strawberries, as one of the top ten superfoods for a diabetes meal plan because they are low in sugar, packed with vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fiber.

A new study* published in the February 2016 issue of Molecular Nutrition & Food Nutrition found that anthocyanin-rich strawberries may improve insulin sensitivity.  Insulin resistance (IR) is a hallmark of metabolic syndrome and a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Typically, after a meal, the pancreas produces an appropriate amount of insulin to usher glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. People with IR have built up a tolerance to insulin, so the pancreas must churn out extra insulin to coax blood sugar into the cells. Over time, this process can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Researchers observed the effect of anthocyanins on the postprandial insulin response of 21 obese adults with insulin resistance. Subjects were served a typical ‘Western-style’ meal high in carbohydrates and fat plus a beverage that contained freeze-dried whole strawberry powder. The beverages were controlled for fiber, and the amount of strawberry powder ranged from 0 grams to 40 grams (equivalent to 3 cups of fresh strawberries). When subjects drank the most concentrated beverage, they didn’t produce as much insulin as when they drank the least concentrated versions. In other words, they didn’t need as much insulin to metabolize their meal after drinking the anthocyanin-rich strawberry shake.

While the exact mechanisms are unclear, strawberry anthocyanins may alter insulin signaling at a cellular level.

“These results add to the collective evidence that consuming strawberries may help improve insulin action,” says study author Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D., MS, Director, Center for Nutrition Research, Institute for Food Safety and Health (IFSH) at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Naturally low in sugar (just 7 grams), strawberries provide a unique combination of essential nutrients, dietary fiber and phytochemicals.  One serving of eight medium strawberries is just 45 calories and provides more vitamin C per serving than orange and 140% of the daily value.  Additionally, strawberries are a good source of fiber (3 grams), folate and potassium, along with a variety of health-promoting phytochemicals.  Clinical research suggests that eating a serving of eight medium strawberries a day may improve heart health, help manage diabetes, support brain health, and reduce the risk of some cancers.

For the latest nutrition news on strawberries, visit:

About California Strawberry Commission:  The California Strawberry Commission is a state government agency located in Northern California charged with conducting research to support California’s strawberry industry. With an emphasis on sustainable farming practices, the commission works with strategic partners focusing on production and nutrition research, food safety training and education, marketing and communications, trade relations and public policy.

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Californians, Oregonians Lead in Veggie Consumption

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DSCN4878Residents of California lead the nation in vegetable consumption, while neighboring Oregon is second.

Even though Oregon is second, most folks here aren’t eating enough, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 11 percent of Oregonians are eating the recommended two to three cups of vegetables a day, second only to California, where 13 percent eat enough veggies, CDC researchers report.

Nationwide, only 8.9 percent of Americans are eating two to three cups of vegetables every day as recommended.

Fruit consumption is slightly better. About 14.5 percent of Oregonians are eating the recommended 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit a day, compared with 13.1 percent of all Americans and 17.7 percent of people in California.

Fruits and vegetables are important in lowering a person’s risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, said Jordana Turkel, a registered dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

For example, they contain a lot of fiber, which helps control spikes in blood glucose levels by slowing the digestive process, and the fact that they are generally low in fat helps lower cholesterol levels.

“We are seeing now what is going to happen if this trend continues,” Turkel said. “Obesity is on the rise. The rates of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are on the rise. I think we are seeing the effects of all of this now.”

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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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New Study Confirms Eating More Produce is Healthy

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DSCN0464By The Alliance for Food and Farming

Study after study continues to confirm the benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables.  Recently, a new study was released from the Harvard School of Public Health where researchers found an association between eating at least two servings of fruit a week and having a 23 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes.   Blueberries, grapes and apples seemed to be especially linked with the reduced diabetes risk.  Prunes, apricots, peaches, raisins, bananas, oranges, strawberries and grapefruit were also included in the study.

This is more good news for consumers since the fruits included in the research are popular, plentiful and often kids’ favorites.  It also seems to illustrate the nutritional punch of these healthy foods.

The study findings further support the Alliance for Food and Farming’s message to consumers – choose either organic or conventional fruits and veggies but choose to eat more.  Both are safe and eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies is always the right choice for improved health and a longer life.

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