Believe it or not, although pistachios are high in calories, eating them may help you shed unwanted pounds, according to a review published in 2010 in the journal “Nutrients.” However, because pistachios are high in calories, overindulging in them may put a damper on your weight-loss efforts. A review published in 2012 in “Nutrition Reviews” reported that eating pistachios in moderation as part of a well-balanced, reduced-calorie diet increases satiety, which helps you peel away pounds.
Moderation has different meanings for different women. One serving of pistachios is generally 1 ounce on nutrition facts labels. However, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov, 24 pistachios equals 1/2 ounce, and is equivalent to one serving from the protein foods group. If you’re following a 1,200-calorie weight-loss meal plan and pistachios are the only foods you eat from the protein foods group, you can eat up to 3 portions -- or 72 pistachios – daily, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
Boosting your pistachio intake without overindulging aids in weight loss. A study published in 2010 in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” found that participants who reduced their overall intake by 500 calories daily and consumed pistachios for a snack for 12 weeks successfully lost weight and had lower triglyceride levels than participants who consumed a pretzel snack instead. Subjects in this study successfully lost weight consuming 53 grams of pistachios, or 240 calories from pistachios, daily. One ounce of pistachios contains 160 calories. Therefore, subjects in this study successfully lost weight consuming 1.5 ounces, or about 72 pistachios, daily.
Since different varieties of nuts have similar calorie and protein content, you don’t have to choose pistachios to reap the weight-management benefits of consuming nuts. The review published in 2010 in “Nutrients” reported that consuming other tree nuts – such as almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts – or peanuts may also help you shed pounds. The key is portion control and total caloric intake.
If you eat too many calories you won’t lose weight, regardless of how many pistachios you consume daily. Reducing your current intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day will safely and effectively help you shed 1 to 2 pounds weekly, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meal plans containing 1,000 to 1,200 calories daily will help most inactive women lose weight, while 1,200- to 1,600-calorie diets are often appropriate for weight loss in regular exercisers and women who weigh more than 164 pounds, notes the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
- Nutrients: Health Benefits of Nut Consumption
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: What Counts as an Ounce Equivalent in the Protein Foods Group?
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Pistachio Nuts Reduce Triglycerides and Body Weight by Comparison to Refined Carbohydrate Snack in Obese Subjects on a 12-Week Weight Loss Program
- Nutrition Reviews: Pistachio nuts: Composition and Potential Health Benefits
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Nuts, Pistachio Nuts, Dry Roasted, with Salt Added
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: How are Overweight and Obesity Treated?
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.