What Is the Pistachio Principle?

The Pistachio Principle is a basic concept that was developed by James Painter, Ph.D, R.D., a behavioral eating expert.  He saw that dieters were not working to keep weight off and a new way of thinking was needed. 

The Basic Idea

The general idea behind The Pistachio Principle is that we eat too fast and by doing so, our bodies can not catch up as quickly and we overeat.  It takes a full 20 minutes for the brain to recognize that the body is full.  After studies were done by Dr. Painter, it was discovered that eating slowly causes our bodies to only eat what it needs and we will eat much less.


Pistachios are a nut that is found inside a shell.  This is part of the key to The Pistachio Principle.  When eating a pistachio, you must first break open the shell to get the nut out.  Each pistachio goes through this process.  By having to break each shell open, the consumption rate is much slower.  A study found that people who ate in-shell pistachios ate 50% fewer calories.  The participants in the study also reported feeling satisfied even having eaten fewer pistachios.

A study also found that when the empty pistachio shells were left on a table in plain site after eating, 35% fewer calories were eaten.  This is kind of a mind trick on the brain.  It looks as if you have eaten a large amount of nuts due to the shells but in reality, you have only eaten a few. 

Branching Out

The Pistachio Principle does not only apply to just the consumption of pistachios.  When eating anything, try to pick items that are fresh and that will require a bit of work to eat them.  This will help to slow down the eating process.  Eat fruit section by section and cut up the fruit into small pieces.  The smaller pieces will cause you to consume the fruit slower.  Cut up vegetables into small pieces so slow down the consumption.  When eating a meal, use a smaller plate and do not fill the plate up.  If you are still hungry after this plate, it will take some time to get more food and give your food some time to settle.  Be conscious of additional ways to slow down your eating and implement those whenever possible.

Pistachio Benefits

Pistachios offer over thirty different minerals, vitamins and benefits.  Some of the minerals and vitamins are copper, manganese and vitamin B6.  These serve as a great source of dietary fiber, protein and thiamin.  Pistachios are the only nut to offer large amounts of luten and zeaxanthin and pistachios also offer a high amount of total polyphenol antioxidants. 

The Pistachio Principle is a basic idea of slowing down when eating and you will eat less.  This is not a diet but it is a lifestyle change.  When you change your lifestyle, the chances of success greatly go up.


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