Pistachio nut consumption modifies systemic hemodynamics, increases heart rate variability, and reduces ambulatory blood pressure in well-controlled type 2 diabetes: A randomized trial

Katherine A. Sauder, Cindy E. McCrea, Jan S. Ulbrecht, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Sheila G. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Background-Managing cardiovascular risk factors is important for reducing vascular complications in type 2 diabetes, even in individuals who have achieved glycemic control. Nut consumption is associated with reduced cardiovascular risk; however, there is mixed evidence about the effect of nuts on blood pressure (BP), and limited research on the underlying hemodynamics. This study assessed the effect of pistachio consumption on BP, systemic hemodynamics, and heart rate variability in adults with wellcontrolled type 2 diabetes. Methods and Results-We enrolled 30 adults (40 to 74 years) with type 2 diabetes in a randomized, crossover, controlled feeding study. After a 2-week run-in period, participants consumed a low-fat control diet (27% fat) containing low-fat/high-carbohydrate snacks and a moderate-fat diet (33% fat) containing pistachios (20% of total energy) for 4 weeks each, separated by a 2-week washout. Following each diet period, we assessed BP, systemic hemodynamics, and heart rate variability at rest and during acute mental stress, and, in a subset of participants (n=21), 24-hour ambulatory BP. BP at rest and during stress did not differ between treatments. The pistachio diet significantly reduced total peripheral resistance (-3.7±2.9%, P=0.004), increased cardiac output (3.1±2.3%, P=0.002), and improved some measures of heart rate variability (all P<0.05). Systolic ambulatory BP was significantly reduced by 3.5±2.2 mm Hg (P=0.046) following the pistachio diet, with the greatest reduction observed during sleep (-5.7±2.6 mm Hg, P=0.052). Conclusions-A moderate-fat diet containing pistachios modestly improves some cardiovascular risk factors in adults with wellcontrolled type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere000873
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this