Wanting to lose a few extra kilos? If yes, then keep pistachios always around you. A study, published in the July 20 issue of Nutrients, shows that adding US 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 will 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 researchers at the University of California, San Diego investigated whether US pistachios could be used as part of a weight loss programme 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). Researchers measured the participants’ health information, diet and lab tests for cardiovascular disease risk at the beginning and end of the four-month study.
According to the researchers, both groups lost about 5 per cent of their bodyweight and both significantly decreased their waist circumference and body mass index (BMI). Waist circumference and BMI are indicators of not only obesity, but whether or not 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 fibre 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.