Fats in Pistachios are Good for You

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

Roughly 75 percent of the calories in a serving of pistachios come from its fat content. Before you put your bag of pistachios back into the cabinet, you need to know more about the types of fats found in these super-healthy nuts. Although one ounce of pistachios has 13 grams of total fat, most of that comes from heart-healthy monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fats.

The breakdown of fats in pistachios is:

Monounsaturated fats: 7 grams

Polyunsaturated fats: 4 grams

Saturated fats: 1.5 grams

According to the American Heart Association, most of the fats in your diet should come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The monounsaturated fats in the pistachio help keep your cholesterol levels low and support the health and development of the cells in your body.

While most of the fat in pistachios is monounsaturated, the nuts are also a source of polyunsaturated fats, including the essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain and heart health. A 1-ounce serving of the sweet nut meets 5 percent of the daily value for omega-3s. Maybe not a huge source, but certainly helps you get a little closer to your daily needs.


Effects on Cholesterol

In 2008, researchers at Pennsylvania State University conducted a study to determine the benefits of fats in pistachios on cardiovascular disease risk. Participants in the study had elevated low-density lipoprotein—the harmful cholesterol that leads to heart disease. During the study, research subjects ate no pistachios for the first month, had one serving of pistachios the second month, and had two servings of pistachios during the third month. The results, which were published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that consuming two servings of pistachios daily—amounting for 20 percent of your total calories from pistachios—can lower your LDL cholesterol by about 8 percent and total cholesterol by around 11 percent, thus lowering your risk of
heart disease. For an average 2,000-calorie diet, this would equate to roughly 2.5 ounces of pistachios daily.


Weight Control Benefits

A research review published in the April 2012 edition of “Nutrition Reviews” investigated studies that evaluated pistachios and satiety. Because of the high MUFA and PUFA contents of pistachios, they take a while for your body to digest, as compared to a high-carb snack, like pretzels. You probably won’t feel that late afternoon rumbling in your tummy if you snack on nuts. The review pointed out that while pistachios can surely improve satiety, you need to eat them in moderation because the calories can add up.


Blood Sugar Control

Monounsaturated fats in pistachios can improve insulin levels in your blood, according to MayoClinic.com. Insulin is the hormone that regulates your blood sugar, or glucose, levels. When you replace saturated and trans fats in your diet with MUFAs, your blood sugar levels could stabilize. This is especially beneficial if you have Type 2 diabetes, and your system doesn’t use insulin well or doesn’t have enough of the hormone.


Other Considerations

Even though MUFAs and PUFAs are “good” fats, they are, indeed, still fats. Fats have 9 calories per gram, so you’ll need to manage your serving size of pistachios. They are so good; you’ll quickly eat the whole container and get way more calories than you intended. Having a 1-ounce serving, which amounts to about 49 kernels—plenty to satiate you, gets you a healthy dose of beneficial fats for less than 160 calories.


Enjoy snacking on those pistachios!





Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.