Diabetes and Peanuts

roasted vegetables sprinkled with peanuts.Aug 15, 2023
  • Individuals with diabetes need foods that can help manage blood sugar and weight.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter can be a powerful ally to reaching success.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter have a low glycemic index, which means they don’t cause blood sugar to rise sharply.
  • For great ideas for including peanuts and peanut butter in meals, visit our recipe pages.

Successfully Managing Diabetes

More than 34 million Americans (1 in 10) have diabetes (CDC, 2020). Successfully managing diabetes requires nutritious eating and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as monitoring blood sugar and taking medications as prescribed. When it comes to diet, peanuts and peanut butter are like a secret weapon because they taste great, but don’t cause blood glucose to spike. They have a glycemic index of just 14. Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly the blood sugar rises after eating a specific amount of a food, as compared to a control food – the lower the glycemic index number, the lower the impact on blood glucose (The University of Sydney, 2001). As part of a carbohydrate-controlled diet, peanuts can add flavor, variety and substance to meals.

Heart Health and Healthy Weight

The number one killer for people with diabetes is cardiovascular disease. In order to maintain good health, people with diabetes need to also reduce the risk for other disease. Incorporating foods that help promote heart health, including peanuts, is an important part of nutritious eating. In fact, scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz. per day of nuts, including peanuts, as a part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. As part of reducing cardiovascular risk and managing diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight is paramount. Peanuts can be part of a heart-healthy diet.

Experts agree – peanuts and peanut butter are regularly on the recommended foods list by many expert organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, because they have been shown to have a low GI and are full of nutrition. They also serve as a great vehicle food, helping people enjoy more fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains.

Expert recommendations:

Some great ways to include peanuts and peanut butter in your diet:

  • Mixed into a bowl of whole-grain oats at breakfast
  • Sprinkled on a salad to add protein and crunch with lunch
  • A handful as a mid-afternoon snack will help control the munchies
  • Melted and mixed with a little lite coconut milk as a sauce for grilled chicken breast
  • With crackers as an evening snack


  1. Centers for Disease Control. Division of Diabetes Translation. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020. Available at www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-stat-report.html. Accessed on September 7, 2021.
  2. The University of Sydney. About Glycemic Index. Available at http://www.glycemicindex.com/about.php. Accessed on October 15, 2012.
  3. American Diabetes Association. Glycemic Index and Diabetes. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html. Accessed on October 15, 2012.

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