We’ve had a lot of people ask us, “Are peanuts and peanut butter good for diabetics?” And the short answer? Absolutely!

Peanuts offer an amazing mix of plant-based protein, healthy fats and minerals—in fact,the American Diabetes Association lists nuts and legumes (peanuts are part of both groups) as two of their “Diabetes Superfoods”​1.

But that’s just the beginning of the benefits these pint-sized powerhouses can offer if you’re looking to manage diabetes in a healthy, cost-effective way.

1. Peanuts won’t spike your blood sugar.

Peanuts and peanut butter are digested more slowly, and therefore release sugar gradually into the bloodstream. The GI content of foods is measured on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the highest GI foods. Peanuts, however, have a GI of only 14​​2.

2. Peanuts may also improve long-term glucose control.

Low GI foods (like peanuts) have also shown to be effective in significantly improving glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes, similar to the amounts achieved with medication​3.

3. And they help prevent blood sugar spikes throughout the day.

Including peanuts or peanut butter at breakfast not only reduces the rise in blood sugar for that meal, it may also help diminish spikes all the way through lunch! One study found that peanuts and peanut butter promoted the secretion of hormone peptide YY (PYY), which helps suppress the appetite​4.

4. Peanuts also help you fight back against “snack attacks”.

When living with diabetes, it’s important to control your blood sugar between meals. Peanuts contain key healthy fats that can help you manage hunger​1, which can help you cut back on eating unhealthy snacks.

5. Peanuts and Peanut Butter help prevent other diseases in diabetics.

In a multi-year study of women with type 2 diabetes, it was found that eating five 1oz. servings per week of nuts (or 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter) was associated with a significant reduction in cardiovascular disease risk​5. Snacking on peanuts can even help you manage your weight—which can help control diabetes even more​6.

Key Takeaway

In short, if you’re looking for an easy, delicious way to help manage diabetes healthily, peanuts and peanut butter are a great solution. And if you’re looking for new ideas to work more of this plant-based protein into your diet, we have a printable cookbook filled with some of our favorite diabetic-friendly recipes here.

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Sources

  1. “Diabetes Superfoods.” American Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/making-healthy-food-choices/diabetes-superfoods.html.
  2. Arya SS, Salve AR, Chauhan S. ​​Peanuts as functional food: a review.​ J Food Sci Technol. 2016 Jan;53(1):31-41. doi: 10.1007/s13197-015-2007-9. Epub 2015 Sep 19. Review. PubMed PMID: 26787930; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4711439.
  3. Ajala O, English P, Pinkney J. Systematic review and meta-analysis of different dietary approaches to the management of type 2 diabetes.​​ Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Mar;97(3):505-16. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.042457. Epub 2013 Jan 30. Review. PubMed PMID: 23364002.
  4. Reis, C., Ribeiro, D., Costa, N., Bressan, J., Alfenas, R., & Mattes, R. (2013). Acute and second-meal effects of peanuts on glycaemic response and appetite in obese women with high type 2 diabetes risk: A randomised cross-over clinical trial. ​British Journal of Nutrition,​​109​(11), 2015-2023. doi:10.1017/S00071145120042175.
  5. Tricia Y. Li, Aoife M. Brennan, Nicole M. Wedick, Christos Mantzoros, Nader Rifai, Frank B. Hu; Regular Consumption of Nuts Is Associated with a Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Women with Type 2 Diabetes, ​The Journal of Nutrition​, Volume 139, Issue 7, 1 July 2009, Pages 1333–1338, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.108.1036226.
  6. “Weight Loss.” American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/weight-loss​.