Snacks: your nuts

If your favorite snack food presents a once-you-pop-you can’t-stop problem, pick pistachios.

Even when you’re training hard and eating clean, you can still fail in your efforts to get lean. By simply eating too much, healthy or not, you sabotage yourself. And being as convenient a snack as they are, nuts are often to blame. But the pistachio stands out from the pack: They taste great and may help fight mindless eating.


When you can already bench your body weight or run a six-minute mile, it’s hard to imagine that the task of popping a pistachio out of its shell could be any more helpful in hitting your fitness and weight goals. But science suggests shelling the nuts— and keeping the shells in view—may slow snacking and help you take in fewer calories than you would eating out-of-shell nuts (like almonds or cashews).

In one of his behavioral experiments at the university, whose preliminary findings were published in 2011 in the journal Appetite*, snackers who ate unshelled pistachios took in 41% fewer calories than those who ate nuts that had already been shelled. (Those who ate preshelled pistachios consumed an average of 211 calories, while those who had to shell their own ate an average of 125 calories.) What’s more, those who ate in-shell nuts reported about the same levels of fullness.

In another preliminary behavioral Eastern Illinois study, subjects who sat at a desk all day with a bowl of pistachios, which was refilled every two hours, as well as a shell bowl, ate 18% fewer calories than those whose shells were taken away when the bowl was refilled. Though more research is needed, these two studies underscore pistachios’ value as a great snack that may help to control calories by curbing consumption. Pistachios are also a good source of fiber, as well as vitamin B6.

Vitamin B6 is just one of the micronutrients analysed during a Muhdo DNA profile…what are your deficiency risk factors?

Some of the information for this article was provided by Wonderful Pistachios.

Shelled Nuts, ”Honselman, Painter, et al, Appetite, 2011, 57 (2):414-417 “The Effect of Pistachios Shells as a Visual Cue in Reducing Caloric Consumption,” Kennedy-Hagan K., Painter JE, et al, Appetite, 2011 “Association of Nut Consumption with Total and CauseSpecific Mortality,” Bao, Y., Han, J., et al, New England Journal of Medicine, 2013; 369;21: 2001–2011


An ounce of pistachios, like Wonderful Pistachios, gives you about 49 nuts—more pieces per calorie than you’ll get from most other nuts. Here’s how pistachios stack up.

Pistachios Almonds Peanuts Walnus Brazil Nuts Cashews Hazelnuts Pecas
CALORIES 160 160 160 190 190 160 180 200
PROTEIN 6g 6g 7g 4g 4g 4g 4g 3g
CARBS 8g 6g 5g 4g 3g 9g 5g 4g
FAT 14g 14g 14g 18g 19g 13g 17g 20g
FIBRE 3g 4g 2g 2g 2g 1g 3g 3g

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database SR26