How many pieces of pistachios should I eat a day?

Quick Answer

The recommended daily serving of pistachios is 1 to 2 ounces or about 49 pistachio kernels. This provides an optimal amount of healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants and nutrients without exceeding calorie needs. More can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

How Many Pistachios in an Ounce?

There are about 49 pistachio kernels in one ounce. An ounce is about a handful of pistachios.

Here’s a look at the pistachio kernel count per ounce:

Pistachios Kernels per Ounce
In-shell pistachios 49
Shelled pistachios 49

As you can see, an ounce of in-shell and shelled pistachios contains the same number of kernels. The difference is just the shells being removed.

So when eating pistachios, you can use a one ounce or 49 kernel serving as a handy portion guide, whether enjoying them in the shell or shelled.

Recommended Daily Intake

The recommended daily serving for pistachios is 1 to 2 ounces per day.

This provides:

– 1 to 2 ounces or 49 to 98 kernels
– 160 to 320 calories
– 3 to 6 grams protein
– 5 to 10 grams fiber
– 8 to 16 grams healthy fats
– Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants including thiamin, phosphorus, copper, manganese and lutein

One to two ounces offers a moderate amount of pistachios that provides significant nutritional benefits without exceeding calorie needs for most people.

The American Heart Association recommends 4 to 5 servings of nuts per week as part of a heart healthy diet. With pistachios, this would equal about 5 to 7 ounces per week, or less than 1 ounce per day.

The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend replacing some foods higher in saturated fat, like meat and cheese, with nuts to improve diet quality. 1 to 2 ounces of pistachios can be a healthy substitution.

Benefits of 1-2 Ounces of Pistachios Per Day

Eating 49 to 98 pistachios (1 to 2 ounces) per day provides many benefits:

Healthy Fats

Pistachios contain mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, including oleic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids like linoleic acid. Despite being high in fat, pistachios may help lower LDL cholesterol and promote heart health.

Fiber

Pistachios are an excellent source of fiber. Just 1-2 ounces provides up to 10 grams of fiber, fulfilling a significant portion of the daily fiber needs for most adults. Fiber promotes digestive health and regularity.

Plant Protein

Pistachios offer 3-6 grams of plant-based protein per serving, providing amino acids for muscle maintenance, tissue repair and daily energy needs.

Disease-Fighting Antioxidants

Pistachios contain the antioxidants lutein, beta-carotene and gamma-tocopherol that can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress to lower disease risk.

Key Micronutrients

One serving of pistachios delivers a considerable amount of thiamin, phosphorus, copper and manganese along with many other vital micronutrients.

Weight Management

Despite being high in fat and calories, research shows that pistachios do not cause weight gain and may even aid weight loss when consumed in moderate portions. Their protein, fiber and healthy fats are satiating.

Blood Sugar Control

Human studies demonstrate that the healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants and nutrients in pistachios can reduce spikes in blood sugar levels after meals that contribute to diabetes risk.

So the nutritional payoff of eating 1-2 ounces of pistachios daily is well worth it for most healthy adults.

Potential Downsides of Eating Too Many Pistachios

While pistachios offer many benefits, there are some potential downsides of eating more than the recommended 1-2 ounce serving:

High in Calories

At 160-170 calories per ounce, pistachios are one of the higher calorie nuts. Consuming 3 ounces or more (over 240 calories) may contribute to excess calorie intake and weight gain if it exceeds your daily needs.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Overdoing high fiber foods like pistachios can sometimes cause abdominal pain, gas, bloating or diarrhea in sensitive individuals, especially when increasing fiber intake quickly versus gradually.

Allergies

Tree nuts, including pistachios, are common food allergens. Those with pistachio or tree nut allergies must avoid them entirely. For others, eating too many may increase food sensitivities.

Pesticide Residue

Some pesticides approved for use on pistachio orchards may leave low levels of residue. Choosing organic pistachios can minimize exposure from pesticide residues.

Aflatoxin Contamination

Aflatoxins are carcinogenic mold byproducts that can sometimes contaminate pistachios and cause health risks in high amounts. Buying from reputable suppliers can help avoid this.

To prevent these issues, the best practice is to stick within the recommended 1-2 ounce daily serving of pistachios. But overall they are considered very healthy when enjoyed in moderation.

Healthiest Daily Pistachio Intake for Different Calories Needs

The healthiest daily pistachio intake can range based on your individual calorie needs and diet:

Daily Calorie Needs Healthy Daily Pistachio Intake
1200-1600 calories 1 ounce or 49 kernels
1600-2000 calories 1 to 1.5 ounces or 49 to 73 kernels
2000-2600 calories 1.5 to 2 ounces or 73 to 98 kernels
2600-3200 calories 2 to 2.5 ounces or 98 to 122 kernels

As you can see, people with lower calorie needs may want to stick to 1 ounce a day, while more active individuals with higher caloric intakes can healthfully enjoy up to 2.5 ounces daily.

This slideshow guides portion sizes for different calorie needs:

1200-1600 Calorie Diet

Aim for 1 ounce or about a handful.

1600-2000 Calorie Diet

1 to 1.5 ounces is a healthy goal.

2000-2600 Calorie Diet

1.5 to 2 ounces or about 2 handfuls works for higher calorie needs.

2600-3200 Calorie Diet

Up to 2.5 ounces can be part of a healthy high calorie diet.

This allows pistachio amounts to fit within different calorie plans and activity levels.

Risks of Overeating Pistachios

While pistachios offer nutritional benefits, eating well over the recommended serving carries some risks:

Potential Weight Gain

At over 160 calories per ounce, excess pistachio intake can contribute to overweight or obesity if it puts you into a calorie surplus over time. Limit portions to avoid overeating.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Overfilling on high calorie nuts may displace intake of lower calorie nutrient-rich foods, potentially leading to vitamin, mineral or fiber deficiencies long-term.

Elevated Cholesterol

Though pistachios can improve cholesterol at moderate servings, eating more than 3-4 ounces (over 500 calories) may raise LDL cholesterol due to their high fat content.

Gallstone Risk

There is some evidence that frequent high fat nut consumption over 1-2 ounces may increase gallstone risk, particularly for those prone to stones.

To avoid these effects, stick within the healthy daily serving range based on your calorie needs and dietary preferences.

Pistachio Serving Size FAQs

Can I eat pistachios every day?

Yes, you can eat 1-2 ounces of pistachios daily as part of a healthy diet, providing healthy fats, fiber, plant protein and key nutrients. This makes a great daily snack or topping.

Are 2 ounces of pistachios too much?

No, 1 to 2 ounces of pistachios per day is considered a healthy moderate serving for most people. But if you need to closely manage calories or fat intake, limiting to 1 ounce may be better.

How many pistachios should I eat for weight loss?

About 1 ounce or 49 pistachio kernels per day is optimal for weight loss. This provides satiating nutrition to curb hunger while keeping calories reasonable for losing weight.

Can I eat pistachios at night?

Yes, you can eat a 1 ounce serving of pistachios as an evening snack. Their protein and fiber aids satiety to prevent late night hunger and overeating.

Are pistachios fattening if I eat too many?

Eating over 2-3 ounces of pistachios a day can lead to extra calories that contribute to weight gain over time, if it exceeds your daily calorie needs. Stick to the recommended serving size.

Should pistachios be eaten in moderation?

Yes, it’s ideal to eat pistachios in moderation, which is defined as 1 to 2 ounces daily. This allows you to reap their nutritional benefits without adverse effects of overconsumption.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the recommended pistachio serving per day is:

– 1 to 2 ounces or 49 to 98 kernels
– 160-320 calories
– Approximately 1-2 handfuls

This portable serving provides an optimal dose of healthy fats, plant protein, fiber and protective nutrients to support your health and wellness goals.

Whether you enjoy pistachios in the shell or shelled, 1-2 ounces makes for a satisfying, nutrition-packed snack or recipe addition that can be included in a balanced diet each day.

Sticking within your recommended portion prevents potential downsides like weight gain or stomach upset when overconsumed. But overall pistachios are a diet-friendly nut when eaten mindfully in moderation.

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