This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Creating your weight loss diet can be a challenge with all the foods. What about pistachios, are they good for weight loss or fattening?
Pistachios are a popular nut with a shell. They are consumed in many ways ranging from on their own as a snack to an ingredient in baked goods.
Many people are worried about how the high fat content of nuts and pistachios, in particular, will impact their weight loss. Find out whether this aspect of pistachios interferes with weight loss and how they compare to other popular nuts when it comes to losing weight.
Micronutrients in pistachios
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in pistachios.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of pistachios provides you with approximately (1):
- Vitamin B6: 85% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Copper: 65% of the DV
- Manganese: 60% of the DV
- Thiamin: 58% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 49% of the DV
- Magnesium: 30% of the DV
- Potassium: 29% of the DV
- Iron: 23% of the DV
- Zinc: 15% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. That’s a huge amount of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams compared to a lot of whole foods.
Pistachios also contain antioxidants, subtances that help your body deal with oxidative damage (2).
Fiber in pistachios for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Pistachios contain around 10.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s a very big amount of fiber per 100 grams compared to many whole foods.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in pistachios you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a lot.
Protein in pistachios for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Pistachios contain about 20.6 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, salmon contains around 25.4 grams per 100 grams (3).
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.
The amount of protein in pistachios is very good compared to other nuts and for a plant-based source of protein in general. You will most likely also need protein from other foods but pistachios can get you well on your way to your daily goals.
That being said, if you need a lot of protein in a small volume of food there are better options.
Do pistachios help you lose or gain weight?
You still need a final piece of the puzzle. The amount of calories in pistachios.
Pistachios contain around 557 calories per 100 grams. 114 these calories come from the carbohydrates (20.8 g per 100 grams of which 10.3 g fiber).
One the one hand you have these awesome amounts of micronutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein but on the other hand, you have this large amount of calories.
The thing is that the calorie content from nuts does not get absorbed that well compared to many other foods (3, 4). Even with that in mind, the message is that it might be hard to fit in the calories from pistachios in your daily diet plan but it might be worth it.
You also don’t have to go for the full 100 grams every day. 30 grams could be enough to provide you with some great nutrients without skyrocketing the amount of calories you consume every day.
Depending on your current diet a certain amount of pistachios can help you lose weight by helping you feel a lot fuller and helping you consume more protein. This can help you avoid high-calorie foods that may interfere with your weight loss.
Relevant pistachio studies
One study with 59 people looked into the different impact on weight loss between an afternoon snack of salted pistachios (53 g, 240 cal) and salted pretzels (56 g, 220 cal) for 12 weeks. So basically the same amount of calories if you exclude the calories from the fiber in the pistachios (5).
The group that ate the pistachios lost more weight. Not surprising if you know that the calories from nuts don’t get absorbed as well and calories from refined carbohydrates do get absorbed well.
If you want to make sure you don’t overeat on pistachios you may want to buy shelled ones and keep the empty shells in a bowl within your vision. One study recorded that people who saw all the shells of the pistachios they had eaten consumed less pistachios than the group that didn’t see all the shells (9).
How many pistachios should you eat a day for weight loss?
Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.
Depending on your current diet it might be smarter to choose different foods than pistachios if you want to lose weight. There is not a single right answer for everyone.
If you eat too many pistachios you can have the reverse effect and gain weight.
Do pistachios help you lose belly fat?
Targetting fat loss in a specific area like your belly is generally not possible. Not by eating more of a specific food or by doing a specific exercise. To lose belly fat you have to lose weight overall.
Since a certain amount of pistachios can help you lose weight in general this food can also help you lose belly fat once your body wants to lose fat in your abdominal area.
Pistachios vs other popular nuts for weight loss
You now know how good pistachios are for weight loss but how do they compare to certain other popular nuts? Find out how good pistachios are for weight loss vs almonds, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts.
Pistachios vs almonds
Almonds are another kind of nut. If you’re only looking at calories, almonds contain slightly more calories. Pistachios contain around 557 calories per 100 grams vs the 575 calories per 100 grams of almonds (10).
Pistachios contain around 10.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams, almonds 12.2 grams. The protein content of these foods is also similar, 20.6 grams per 100 grams in pistachios and 21.2 grams per 100 grams in almonds. Finally, almonds contain slightly more vitamins and minerals in total.
Pistachios and almonds will have a very similar impact on weight loss. If you absolutely had to pick a winner almonds would most likely be negligibly better based on these numbers.
Pistachios vs cashews
The amount of fiber is a lot different. Cashews have about 3.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs the 10.3 grams of pîstachios. Cashews contain about 18.2 grams of protein per 100 grams, so slightly lower than pistachios. In terms of the amount of vitamins and minerals, pistachios and cashews are very similar.
The difference in fiber makes a big difference when it comes to losing weight. This makes pistachios better than cashews for weight loss.
Pistachios vs peanuts
Next there is pistachios vs peanuts. Peanuts are technically not a nut but in terms of nutrition, this legume is very similar to nuts. Peanuts are very slightly higher in calories than pistachios, 567 calories per 100 grams vs the 557 calories per 100 grams of peanuts (12).
Peanuts contain around 8.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams. A reasonable amount lower as the 10.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams in pistachios. Peanuts contain about 25.8 grams of protein per 100 grams. These 2 foods are about the same when it comes to the quantity of vitamins and minerals. Peanuts may have a small amount more.
It’s hard to predict the difference on weight loss and this will most likely depend on the individual consuming them. Pistachios are higher in fiber, peanuts are higher in protein.
Pistachios vs walnuts
Walnuts contain 6.7 grams of fiber so quite an amount lower than pistachios. Also in terms of protein walnuts contain less, 15.2 grams per 100 grams. Walnuts also have a slightly lower amounts of vitamins and minerals.
One benefit walnuts do have is that they are higher in omega 3 fats than pistachios. It’s not yet clear how much of a difference that makes when it comes to weight loss.
All in all, pistachios are most likely better for weight loss than walnuts.
Chart of pistachios vs other popular nuts
There are some interesting differences in nutritional content that will most likely matter when it comes to weight loss.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for pistachios (1), almonds (10), cashews (11), peanuts (12), and walnuts (13) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Pistachios||Almonds||Cashews||Peanuts||Walnuts|
|Calories||557 calories||575 calories||553 calories||567 calories||654 calories|
|Fiber||10.3 g||12.2 g||3.3 g||8.5 g||6.7 g|
|Protein||20.6 g||21.2 g||18.2 g||25.8 g||15.2 g|