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Pistachios May Help You Lose Weight

Monday, January 18th, 2021
Woman eating pistachios

Regular pistachio consumption can promote favorable changes in the diet, lower blood pressure, and contribute to weight-loss in a behavioral weight loss program. It is possible to lose weight while still consuming your favorite little snack—pistachios!

Nut-loving consumers looking to lose a few pounds can feel better about keeping pistachios at hand because of a new study. The study, published in the July 2020 issue of Nutrients, shows adding pistachios to the diet can contribute to weight loss, in the context of a calorie-restricted diet in a behavioral intervention, and may contribute additional health benefits such as lowering blood pressure. While several scientific studies have shown pistachios are helpful in maintaining a healthy weight, or do not cause weight gain, this is the first to examine the role of pistachios as part of a weight-loss plan in a real-world setting.

THE STUDY

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego investigated whether pistachios could be used as part of a weight-loss program in a study with 100 healthy, overweight, and obese individuals. All participants received general dietary and behavioral weight-loss advice, and instruction on ways to increase their physical activity. Half of the participants included 1.5 ounces of pistachios in their daily diet (Pistachio group) and the other half did not (Control group). The pistachios provided to participants assigned to that study group were roasted, shelled and unsalted kernels. Participants were provided recipes and examples of how they might choose to include the nuts in meals and snacks vs just eating them straight daily. Researchers measured the participants’ health information, diet, and lab tests for cardiovascular disease risk at the beginning and end of the 4-month study.

STUDY RESULTS

According to the researchers, both groups lost about 5 percent of their body weight and both significantly decreased their waist circumference and body mass index (BMI). Waist circumference and BMI are indicators of not only obesity, but whether you may be at risk for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition to these measurements, there were added benefits to the Pistachio group, including lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, increased fiber intake and lower consumption of sweets than the Control group. The Pistachio group also had higher blood levels of the antioxidant carotenoids of lutein, alpha- and beta-carotene and a healthier ratio of poly- and mono-unsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids.

According to the lead researcher, Cheryl Rock PhD, RD, “this study adds to the body of evidence that U.S. pistachios can be a component of a weight loss diet, can increase intake of key nutrients, and can promote a healthy dietary pattern”.

OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS OF PISTACHIOS

Additional studies have shown U.S. pistachios have a unique set of nutrients that have multiple health benefits. In March 2020, it was announced pistachios are a complete protein, containing all 9 of the essential amino acids required to sustain health for those 5 years and older. This was discovered when the protein quality of pistachios was analyzed by the University of Illinois. They have mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids which are beneficial for lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, contain the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin which have protective properties for the eyes from blue light and ultraviolet light (staring at screens all day), and are a good source of fiber and vitamin B6.

Pistachios may be the best little snack you can find! If you are not eating them regularly, maybe you should?

EAT MORE 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.