Are Pistachios Fattening?

Research has proven that pistachios can be a part of a healthy diet, even for people trying to manage or lose weight.[1]

According to a study, the body does not completely absorb the fat in pistachios. The study results indicate that pistachios might in fact contain less calories a serving than originally believed, validating that pistachios are among the lowest calorie nuts having 160 calories a 30 gram portion.

The pistachios’ energy value was measured by feeding the nuts to 16 healthy individuals as part of a managed diet, and the energy value was then calculated from energy excretion differences throughout the time of the dietary treatment. The energy value of a 30 gram portion of pistachios was 5.9% less than prior calculations.[2]

Earlier research indicates that nut fats are poorly absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. The results from this study confirm that the fat from nuts, especially pistachios, isn’t completely absorbed or digested, which results in a lower energy value.

These results that show the potential savings of calories in pistachios builds on earlier research that show pistachios to be a weight-wise snack.

Pistachios have also been shown to be a “mindful snack” when it comes to a longer eating duration and requires the individual to be more conscious of what is being eaten. Individuals who snack on in-shell nuts eat 41% fewer calories compared to individuals snacking on shelled nuts. In-shell pistachios also provide a visual cue which helps reduce consumption. If leftover shells are immediately cleared, individuals eat as much as 22% more in comparison to leaving leftover shells as a consumption reminder.[3]

Choosing to eat pistachios instead of pretzels supports weight loss and weight management goals. In a study, 52 obese and overweight individuals went on a 500 calorie deficit diet. Some were allocated to a group that had pistachio snacks of about 75 pistachios giving 240 calories. The others were allocated to a group of pretzel snacks that had about 2 ounces of pretzels giving 220 calories. The group that snacked on the pistachios had greater success with their weight loss or weight management goals.

Pistachios Infographic

Image Source: Nuts for Life