Best Snack for Dieters: Nuts or Pretzels?

Medically reviewed in June 2021

Your snacking choices have the power to make or break your diet. So choose this crunchy snack for weight loss success: pistachios.

You might think a low-fat selection like pretzels makes more sense. But a study proved otherwise. In the study, obese dieters who snacked on protein-rich pistachios every day made greater improvements in their BMIs than the group of dieters who snacked on pretzels.

Snack Wars
The study participants followed similar low-calorie diets for 12 weeks and had similarly portioned snacks as well -- either 240 calories worth of pistachios or 220 calories worth of pretzels daily. Both groups dropped pounds, but the pistachio eaters lost more weight and had better improvements in their body mass indexes -- a height–weight measurement that estimates body fat. Not only that, but the nut eaters experienced bigger drops in their triglyceride and cholesterol levels, too.

What's in a Nut?
Researchers think the pistachio eaters scored extra weight loss and health benefits thanks to the nutrition profile of nuts. They're full of good-for-you things that help control appetite -- such as fiber, protein, and unsaturated fats -- and heart-healthy antioxidants, too. And it makes sense that a whole food like nuts would stand head-and-shoulders above a refined-grain snack like pretzels. (Need to lose a little belly fat? Try this plan.)

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