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How Almonds can Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

New research demonstrates how eating almonds, as part of a healthy diet, helps support blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and prediabetes.


By Kaleigh Giles

Senior Copywriter at Immediate Media


Regardless of whether you’re in sound health or have an underlying condition, the truth is, how you eat matters. Indeed, studies have shown that almonds may play an important role in supporting healthy blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. However, the nutrient package of almonds can be part of anyone’s healthy eating plan.

Keep reading to discover how these game-changing nuts can improve people’s health for the better… 

The Power of Almonds

With their unique nutrient package, almonds are a natural choice for researchers looking at foods and dietary patterns that might support healthy blood glucose levels. Indeed, over a decade of research has investigated how almonds can support healthy blood sugar as part of a balanced lifestyle – with some promising results.

Two new research studies showed that a simple addition of almonds to the diet may help reduce the burden of diabetes. More specifically, a handful of almonds eaten 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner for three months reversed prediabetes to normal blood sugar levels in one quarter of the people studied – improvements as potent as taking a prescription diabetes medication. Diabetes researchers described this reversal from prediabetes to normal blood glucose regulation as “the holy grail of medicine.”

One recent study1 of Asian Indians found that eating a small portion (20g) of almonds ahead of breakfast, lunch and dinner for three months demonstrated benefits for blood sugar control and resulted in first-of-its-kind statistically significant reductions in body weight, BMI and other measures in those with prediabetes. Reductions were also seen for fasting glucose, total cholesterol and ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol, among other notable changes.

“The natural combination of monosaturated fatty acids and soluble fibre could be responsible for the positive metabolic outcomes,” says Dr. Misra, who led the study. “Almonds may slow stomach emptying, which could help people ingest less food and fewer calories to promote weight management, which is important in helping reverse the course of prediabetes back to normal blood sugar regulation.” 

Even those who don’t pose a particularly high diabetes risk can reap the benefits of almonds on their blood sugar levels. Research shows that simply eating almonds after consuming high-carbohydrate foods could lower the blood sugar impact for everyone. In some studies, they actually reduced post-meal blood glucose and insulin spikes as well as blood glucose and insulin levels over a two-hour time period relative to an almond-free meal2,3.

Almonds and Diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, you depend on insulin to keep your blood sugar within a normal range. Still, keeping track of how many carbohydrates you eat is vital for your long-term health and will help you decide how much insulin your body needs. If you have type 2 diabetes, taking your medication, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and following a healthy diet will help you maintain blood sugar control.

That being said, a diabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy carbs anymore, but you will need to be more mindful about which you choose to eat. Steer clear of refined sweets (these can cause a spike in blood sugar, which makes it more difficult to keep levels within your target range), and instead opt for portion-controlled, complex carbohydrates that are high in fibre.

Almonds are one of the best options out there, with several studies suggesting that they may help to reduce blood sugar in those living with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Almonds also have an impressive macronutrient profile of good fats, protein and fibre that help keep you going throughout your day.

See what BBC Good Food has to say about almonds.

1. Gulati, S., Misra, A., Tiwari, R., Sharma, M., Pandey, R. M., Upadhyay, A. D., & Sati, H. C. (2023). Premeal almond load decreases postprandial glycaemia, adiposity and reversed prediabetes to normoglycemia: A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition ESPEN, 54, 12-22.


2. Josse AR, Kendall CWC, Augustin LSA, Ellis PR, Jenkins DJA. Almonds and postprandial glycemia--a dose-response study. Metabolism. 2007;56 (3):400-404.


3. Jenkins DJA, et al. Almonds decrease postprandial glycemia, insulinemia, and oxidative damage in healthy individuals. The Journal of Nutrition. 2006;136 (12):2987-2992.