Peanuts are a nutritious, hunger-satisfying, low-glycemic snack. It’s one reason the American Diabetes Association considers nuts a “Superfood.”
In one study, people with elevated fasting blood sugar who ate a single serving of peanuts (about 1 oz.) as an evening snack had improved blood sugar levels in the morning.1
Many Live with Diabetes Without Realizing It
According to the CDC, more than 34 million people in the United States are currently living with diabetes, with 1 in 5 of them not realizing it. Beyond that, more than 88 million adults (over a third of the US population) have prediabetes, with 84% being unaware.2
But the news isn’t entirely bad: currently, the majority of diabetic patients (about 90-95%) have type 2 diabetes, and peanuts can help prevent and manage the condition.
An Ounce of Prevention
A 2020 study found that diets high in fresh vegetables and fruit, whole grains, lean dairy, fish and nuts were associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes.3 Red and processed meat, refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages, meanwhile, raised the risk.
A separate study found that certain lifestyle changes could be effective in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes, especially when followed long-term. That includes increasing your physical activity, and following a healthy diet. Specifically, it called out the benefits of a nut-enriched Mediterranean Diet for its association with a reduction in rates of type 2 diabetes.4
Frequency of consumption could also play a factor.
For women specifically, a study found a 21% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes was associated with consuming peanut butter at least 5 times per week.5
In a separate study, a 53% reduced risk for diabetes was associated with participants who reported eating nuts at least 4 times per week (compared to those who ate none).6
When analyzing 9 studies with a total of 307,099 participants, plant-based diets showed a positive relationship with preventing type 2 diabetes.7 Those diets were shown to be especially effective when enriched with healthful plant-based foods like nuts.
Managing Diabetes: Almonds or Peanuts?
If you’re nuts about nuts, there’s more good news: a 2018 study found peanuts and almonds to be equally effective for lowering blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.8 That means more people can enjoy big benefits at a much smaller cost—both to their wallets, and the environment, due to the large amount of water required to grow almonds.
“This study highlights that people can choose peanuts as a low-cost option for blood sugar control,” says Dr. Samara Sterling, Director of Research for the Peanut Institute.
Food for Thought
Whether you’re managing diabetes or looking for a diet that can help prevent it, peanuts and peanut butter provide key nutrients that support your goals, especially when added to diets with a variety of nutritious, plant-based foods.
If you’d like to learn more about how peanuts and peanut butter can support your own path to better health, check out the science for yourself in our Research Library. You can also check out some of our favorite peanut-powered recipes in our free printable Diabetes Cookbook. And for daily health tips, recipes and more, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.