Using The Pistachio Principle To Lose Weight

pistachioThe Pistachio Principle is a unique way and approach to try and lose weight. This concept was brought about when Dr. James Painter, PhD, RD of the Eastern Illinois University conducted experiments and made observations on people eating pistachios. The Pistachio Principle aims to show that people may be able to consume fewer calories without even trying to restrict their food intake.

Why most diets fail?

The reason why people find it hard to lose weight is mainly due to the diet itself that they follow. More often than not, most diets require a certain level of food restriction from people that can make them feel deprived. According to Dr. Painter, this is one of the main reasons why people fail to follow most weight loss diets for the long term and become effective. That is why Dr. Painter is addressing weight loss armed with a new approach- calorie reduction to lose weight without getting people to feel restricted or deprived from the food that they eat. That is where the Pistachio Principle may work best.

How the principle works?

The Pistachio Principle was conceived from a number of behavioral studies made where a group of people were made to eat pistachios. One part of the group ate pistachios with their shells on while the other eats the pistachios without them. Since pistachio with shells can take some effort and time to eat, it resulted to around 50 percent less nuts consumed by the participants as compared to those who ate the shelled pistachios. What’s more, both groups felt equally satisfied and full after eating their portions.

Applying this principle

The Pistachio Principle deals mostly with behavioral and environmental changes and focus rather than food restriction.  One way that this can be applied is by how certain foods are eaten and prepared. Instead of drinking fruit juice where it might be easier to consume more calories, you should try eating fruits more which can take longer to consume since you might need to peel them first before eating.

When you plan to eat peanuts, or even pistachios, choose on eating the unshelled varieties if you wish to lose weight. The effort and time that you put in eating them may actually help you consume less but still feel satisfied that you have eaten your fill. And another thing, try to place the shells of the nuts that you have eaten on the table as see them pile up as you go. Seeing how much of the nuts you have already eaten by their shells can help convince your mind that you may have already eaten your fill.

One of the probable reasons that the Pistachio Principle might work on weight loss might lie on the fact that the brain takes about 20 minutes to get the signal that the body is fully satisfied eating. By eating a bit slower than normal, such as when you give some effort eating shelled pistachios, you might be able to pass the time by eating less in the process. This will help you eat fewer calories and eventually help you lose weight without even restricting your diet.


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