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Pistachios not promoting weight gain


Pistachios, healthy or not? Studies have shown that they can improve blood lipid profiles and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, there is a wide perception that they can lead to weight gain, due to a high fat content.

So research was carried out to ascertain the effects of pistachio consumption on body weight, blood pressure, blood lipids, blood glucose and insulin in subjects with metabolic syndrome.

The methods use was ninety subjects with metabolic syndrome (consistent with 2005 International Diabetes Federation metabolic syndrome standard without diabetes) were enrolled in three endocrinology outpatient clinics in Beijing.

All subjects received dietary counselling according to the guidelines of the American Heart Association Step I diet. After a 4 week run-in, subjects were randomized to consume either the recommended daily serving of 42g pistachios (RSG), a higher daily serving of 70g pistachio (HSG) or no pistachios (DCG) for 12 weeks.

Results: Subjects in all three groups were matched at baseline for BMI: DCG 28.03 +/- 4.3; RSG 28.12 +/- 3.22; and HSG 28.01 +/- 4.51 kg/m2.

There were no significant changes in body weight or BMI in any groups during the study nor any change from baseline at any time point in any group. During the entire study, there were no significant differences in waist-to-hip ratio among the groups or any change from baseline in any group (DCG 0.00 +/- 0.03, RSG 0.01 +/- 0.02 and HSG 0.01 +/- 0.04).

There were no significant differences detected among groups in triglycerides, fasting glucose and 2 hour postprandial glucose following a 75 gram glucose challenge. Exploratory analyses demonstrated that glucose values 2 h after a 75 gm glucose challenge were significantly lower at week 12 compared with baseline values in the HSG group (1.13 +/- 2.58 mmol/L, p = 0.02), and a similar trend was noted in the RSG group (0.77 +/-2.07 mmol/L, p = 0.06), while no significant change was seen in the DCG group (0.15 +/- 2.27 mmol/L, p = 0.530).

At the end of study, serum triglyceride levels were significantly lower compared with baseline in the RSG group (0.38 +/- 0.79 mmol/L, p = 0.018), but no significant changes were observed in the HSG or DCG groups.

Looking at these results then it must be concluded that, over a 12 week period, daily ingestion of pistachio nuts in quantities of either 42g or 70g, did not lead to weight gain or an increase in waist to hip ratio in subjects with metabolic syndrome.


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