Nut-based products may aid low-glycaemic dietary strategies that are important for diabetes prevention in populations at increased risk of dysglycaemia, such as Asian Chinese. This randomised cross-over trial assessed the postprandial glycaemic response (0–120 min) of a higher-protein nut-based (HP-NB) snack formulation, in bar format (1009 kJ, Nutrient Profiling Score, NPS, −2), when compared with an iso-energetic higher-carbohydrate (CHO) cereal-based bar (HC-CB, 985 kJ, NPS +3). It also assessed the ability to suppress glucose response to a typical CHO-rich food (white bread, WB), when co-ingested. Ten overweight prediabetic Chinese adults (mean, sd: age 47⋅9, 15⋅7 years; BMI 25⋅5, 1⋅6 kg/m2), with total body fat plus ectopic pancreas and liver fat quantified using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy, received the five meal treatments in random order: HP-NB, HC-CB, HP-NB + WB (50 g available CHO), HC-CB + WB and WB only. Compared with HC-CB, HP-NB induced a significantly lower 30–120 min glucose response (P < 0⋅05), with an approximately 10-fold lower incremental area under the glucose curve (iAUC0–120; P < 0⋅001). HP-NB also attenuated glucose response by approximately 25 % when co-ingested with WB (P < 0⋅05). Half of the cohort had elevated pancreas and/or liver fat, with 13–21 % greater suppression of iAUC0–120 glucose in the low v. high organ fat subgroups across all five treatments. A nut-based snack product may be a healthier alternative to an energy equivalent cereal-based product with evidence of both a lower postprandial glycaemic response and modulation of CHO-induced hyperglycaemia even in high-risk, overweight, pre-diabetic adults.