Topical Area: Obesity, Energy and Macronutrient Metabolism
Objectives : Dietary guidelines around the world recommend regular intake of nuts because of their nutrient contribution to the diet and reported health benefits such as cardiometabolic risk reduction. Nuts, including pistachios, are nutrient-dense foods, high in protein, fiber, phytosterols, antioxidants, MUFA and PUFA. Consumers are often reluctant to include nuts in their diet due to weight concerns. However, the macronutrient composition of pistachios may promote satiety between meals and so facilitate energy compensation. In a 12-week intervention in healthy women, we investigated how the daily intake of pistachios affects body weight and composition, energy compensation, satiety, and nutrient intake.
Methods : In a randomized, controlled, open trial, 60 pre-menopausal women, non-usual consumers of nuts, consumed either 44 g (250 kcal) of pistachios mid-morning (n=30) or maintained their current eating habits for 12 weeks (n=30). Pistachios were varietals grown in California, dry-roasted, low salt. Ad libitum food intake (under laboratory and free living conditions) and appetite sensations (Visual Analogue Scales) were investigated at the beginning and end of the intervention. Body weight and composition (DEXA) were compared at the beginning and end of the intervention.
Results : Daily consumption of 44 g pistachios did not alter body weight or composition. Partial energy compensation occurred at the subsequent meals, mostly via reduced intakes of total and simple carbohydrates and starch, in accordance with decreased hunger and increased satiety sensations following the morning snack. Responses were the same before and after the 12-week habituation to the snack. Intakes of MUFA, PUFA, linoleic acid and micronutrients (thiamin, pyridoxine, copper, manganese, zinc) were significantly higher among women consuming the pistachio snack, in spite of the compensatory changes in intake.
Conclusions : Daily intake of 44 g pistachios improves nutritional intake without affecting body weight or composition in healthy women. The additional calories provided by the pistachios induced satiety and were compensated by a reduction in caloric intake at other eating events, and so had no adverse effects on weight regulation or body composition.
Funding Sources : American Pistachio Growers, USA