While walnuts have been found to have the most antioxidants in the nut family, two new studies suggest in-shell pistachios may be the best ‘skinny nut’ - when consumed unsalted, of course.
The journal Appetite points out that not only are pistachios one of the lowest calorie nuts around, studies have also found that they encourage mindful eating and decreased calorie intake. In one study, participants who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41% fewer calories compared to those who consumed shelled pistachios. The second study revealed that pistachio nut shells can provide important "visual cues" that translate into reduced calorie intake over the day.
Nutritionists are using the term 'Pistachio Principle' to describe a technique that can be used to help ‘fool yourself full’.
"In-shell pistachios are the original 'slow food.' The findings of these studies demonstrate that pistachios, as one of the only in-shell snack nuts, help slow consumption; and further, that the empty shells offer a visual cue, reducing calorie intake," said behavioral eating expert and study author, James Painter, Ph.D., R.D., Chair of the School of Family and Consumer Sciences at Eastern Illinois University.
Pistachios contain around 160 calories per 30 gram serving. Some scientists believe that not all the fat from the nuts is absorbed by the body, so they may be even less calorific that currently believed.