You’ve probably already heard the news—nuts are not an evil bar food waiting to clog your arteries and grow you a gut.
In fact, we all know, nuts aren’t only delicious, they also contain protein and provide you with energy, and may play a role in health and longevity.
However, there’s more great news. One type of nut, by Mother Nature’s design, stands out from the pack. We’re talking about the pistachio. Pistachios are a great source of protein and fiber, as well as vitamin B6, copper, and manganese. What is more, this great-tasting snack turns out to be a powerful weapon in the combat against mindless eating.
When you’re in the gym benching more than your body weight, it’s hard to think that the task of popping a pistachio out of its shell could be key to hitting your health and weight goals. But shelling the nuts—and keeping the shells where you can see them—may slow snacking and help you take in fewer calories than you would when consuming out-of- shell nuts (like almonds or cashews).
The concept has been called the “Pistachio Principle,” and it’s the brainchild of behavioural eating experts at the School of Family and Consumer Sciences at Eastern Illinois University. In one of the behavioural experiments at the university, snackers who ate unshelled pistachios took in 41% fewer calories than those that ate nuts that had already been shelled. The participants who ate pre-shelled pistachios consumed an average of 211 calories, while those who had to shell their own ate an average of 125 calories. What is more, those who ate fewer in-shell nuts reported basically the same levels of fullness.
In another preliminary 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% less calories than those whose shells were taken away when the bowl was refilled.