Pistachios and almonds are two popular healthy nuts used for snacking. Both have many nutrients making people wonder if one is better. Let’s answer which is better, pistachios or almonds?
Almonds are better due to their greater percentage of minerals, fiber and vitamin E. Almonds have a better glycemic index than pistachios which means it raises blood sugar less and digests slower. Almonds have fewer carbohydrates making them better than pistachios for low-carb diets.
This article will start with a side-by-side comparison of their nutrients. In addition, I’ll compare their benefits, prices, tastes, glycemic index and satiety index.
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Nutritional Analysis of Pistachios and Almonds
To determine whether pistachios or almonds are healthier, we need to look at each nut’s nutrients. The below table compares the macronutrient, vitamin and mineral content of pistachios and almonds:
|Nutrient||Almonds (per 100g)||Pistachios (per 100g)|
|Fiber||12.5 g||10.3 g|
|Total Fat||49.9||45.8 g|
|Sugar||4.4 g||7.74 g|
|Carbohydrates||21.6 g||28.3 g|
|Sodium||5.95 mg||6 mg|
|Protein||21.2 g||21 g|
|Vitamin A||2 IU||266 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.20 mg||0.69 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||1.14 mg||0.23 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||3.62 mg||1.37 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.47 mg||0.51 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.13 mg||1.12 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||44 mcg||51 mcg|
|Vitamin E||25.6 mg||0 mg|
|Calcium||269 mg||107 mg|
|Magnesium||270 mg||109 mg|
|Iron||3.7 mg||4.03 mg|
|Phosphorous||481 mg||469 mg|
|Copper||1.03 mg||1.29 mg|
|Potassium||733 mg||1,010 mg|
|Zinc||3.08 mg||2.34 mg|
|GI (Glycemic Index)||0||15|
After checking the nutrients above it’s difficult to determine which is healthier. Let’s examine this a little closer and answer, are pistachios more nutritious than almonds?
Almonds are healthier than pistachios due to its higher percentage fiber, vitamin E and minerals. Almonds provide more zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, riboflavin and niacin than pistachios. Almonds have a better glycemic index and less carbohydrates which means it raises blood sugar less and takes longer to digest.
Pistachios are healthy also and contain more potassium, copper, iron, folate, B6, B5, vitamin A and thiamin. Both nuts have similar percentages of protein, calories and sodium.
Overall, there isn’t a large difference between them when it comes to macronutrients.
Pistachios vs Almonds: Which to Choose
Both nuts are great sources of nutrients and considered healthy. It’s difficult to argue against either one of them. Some people will alternate between the two to break the boredom. Others combine the two into a mixed nut option.
The mixed nut option is my favorite. Although it’s expensive, I purchase a big jar of mixed nuts containing almonds, cashews, pistachios and pecans. I then purchase the more affordable dry roasted peanuts and add it to the mixed nuts.
Adding the more affordable peanuts provides more variety and increases the amount of the mixed nuts saving a little money.
Some people have different goals and may want to pick one based on those goals. Let’s take a look at some.
The most popular goal may be weight loss. If you want to shed some extra pounds, you may ask, which is better for weight loss almonds or pistachios?
Almonds are better for weight loss than pistachios due to its fewer carbohydrates, sugar, more fiber and lower glycemic index. Almonds have a glycemic index of zero and pistachios 15. This combined with more fiber makes almonds take longer to digest, causes less sugar spikes and makes you feel full longer.
Almonds have 164 calories per 1 ounce serving and pistachios 162. The two calorie difference between the two isn’t large enough to make a difference when looking to lose weight.
Of course, almonds or pistachios should be consumed in moderation. Including almonds as part of a well-balanced nutrition plan will help gain the maximum weight loss benefits. The calories in any nut add up pretty fast by eating too many.
If your goal is to consume a low-carb diet then carbohydrates are your number one concern. If you’re on a Keto diet, you’ll want to know which has more carbohydrates pistachios or almonds?
Almonds are better than pistachios for a low-carb diet due to its less carbohydrates. Pistachios contain 8.02 grams of carbohydrates per 1 ounce serving. Almonds contain 6.12 grams of carbohydrates per 1 ounce serving.
Another consideration for low-carb diets is the amount of fat. Almonds provide 14.1 grams of fat per 1 ounce serving and pistachios 13 grams.
If your goal is to gain lean muscle mass there’s a good chance you’re lifting weights in the gym or at home. Which is better for bodybuilding, pistachios or almonds?
Pistachios and almonds off similar benefits for bodybuilding due to their similar number of protein, calories and carbohydrates per serving.
Protein per 1 ounce serving:
- Pistachios: 5.95 grams
- Almonds: 6.01 grams
Calories per 1 ounce serving:
- Pistachios: 162
- Almonds: 164
Carbohydrates per 1 ounce serving:
- Pistachios: 8.02 grams
- Almonds: 6.12 grams
Bodybuilders spend a lot of money on supplements. Pistachios and almonds also have a similar price per serving not giving either one the advantage.
Pistachios and almonds are naturally gluten free. In addition, both nuts can be made into flour and used as a substitute for regular flour in gluten free recipes.
My Vitamix blender can make almond or pistachio flour, check out my review here, Vitamix Venturist V1220 Review.
The Price of Pistachios and Almonds
It seems every trip to the supermarket lately results in a higher price at checkout. Not only that but it seems I have less groceries in my shopping cart.
If you’re looking to save money, the cost of food certainly matters to most people. The price may sway your decision about which to buy as a snack option. Therefore, which costs more, pistachios or almonds?
The price of pistachios and almonds are similar per serving. The average price for whole almonds is $0.49 per 1 ounce serving. The average price for roasted pistachios is $0.48 per 1 ounce serving.
I decided to conduct a search of the following two supermarkets to compare the price of both.
I checked the Shoprite supermarket for the prices of pistachios and almonds:
- Roasted pistachios (store brand)
- $6.49 per 12 oz bag (12 servings) equaling $0.54 per 1 ounce serving
- Whole almonds (store brand)
- $3.69 per 6 oz container (6 servings) equaling $0.62 per 1 ounce serving
I then checked Walmart for the prices of pistachios and almonds:
- Roasted pistachios (store brand)
- $6.60 per 16 oz bag (16 servings) equaling $0.41 per 1 ounce serving.
- Whole natural almonds (store brand)
- $5.98 per 16 oz bag (16 servings) equaling $0.37 per 1 ounce serving
Check out Amazon for pistachios or almonds. Their prices are often more affordable with free shipping.
The Taste of Pistachios vs Almonds
If both nuts offer equal health benefits for you and the price is similar, you may need something extra to swing the balance. In this case, taste may be the deciding factor.
Is pistachio an almond flavor?
Pistachios taste lighter and more buttery than the earthy, smokey almonds. They are both crunchy but pistachios are a little softer and not as dry as almonds.
What does a pistachio nut taste like?
Pistachios are hard and crunchy with a light buttery flavor emphasized when they are salted.
Almonds have an earthy, smokey and slightly woody toasted flavor. Like pistachios, they are crunchy but can feel dry in your mouth once chewed.
If you buy unshelled pistachios, you may find it irritating to remove the shells. In this case, you should opt for the shelled variety. An excellent idea could be to sample pistachios and almonds and decide which one you prefer.
( My Vitamix blender makes nut butter in 1 minute, check out my review, Vitamix Venturist V1220 Review. )
Substituting Pistachios for Almonds
There may be times a recipe requires almonds but you only have pistachios available. Therefore, can you substitute pistachios for almonds?
Pistachios can substitute for almonds. It’s better to use unsalted pistachios than salted. When substituting pistachios, if the recipe calls for chopped almonds then use chopped pistachios. It’s better to use the same type of texture like sliced for sliced, chopped for chopped or slivered for slivered.
When substituting almonds for pistachios it’s always best to use regular almonds instead of salted or flavored.
Check out how peanuts compared to almonds in my article, Peanuts vs Almonds: Which is Healthier? Let’s Compare.
The Glycemic Index of Pistachios and Almonds
The glycemic index of food is important especially if blood sugar levels are a concern. Avoiding blood sugar spikes is an important part of consuming healthy food. This is true for diabetics or anyone worrying about their health.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 3. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes 4.
Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:
- Low-GI foods: 55 or under
- Medium-GI foods: 56-69
- High-GI foods: 70 or over
How blood sugars levels are affected:
- Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.
Having more knowledge of the glycemic index of food and how it raises blood sugar, many people ask, does pistachios or almonds have a higher glycemic index?
Pistachios and almonds are considered low glycemic foods although almonds are lower. Almonds fall into the low glycemic index with a GI of zero. Pistachios have a GI of 15.
Check out how cashew butter compared to peanut butter in my article, Cashew Butter vs Peanut Butter: Which is Better? We Compare.
Pistachios vs Almonds: Satiety
Satiety is a term used to explain the loss of appetite and the feeling of being full after eating food. The satiety index is a scale showing how full a person feels after eating certain foods.
The satiety index was developed in 1995 from a study. The researchers tested 38 foods which were ranked how they satisfied a person’s hunger. Foods scoring above 100 are considered more filling and foods scoring under 100 are considered less filling 5.
The table below shows the satiety scores of snack foods noted in the study.
|Snack||Satiety Index Score|
|Mars candy bar||70%|
Unfortunately, they didn’t test almonds or pistachios but they did test peanuts. Peanuts finished 5th out of the six snack foods listed in the table above. Even though other studies have determined pistachios and almonds are good snacks for satiety.
During a study published in 2019, 60 women consumed 44 grams of pistachios as a mid-morning snack for 12 weeks. The researchers concluded the pistachios induced satiety and the people consumed less calories later in the day 6.
In one study 42 people were given either almonds or crackers as a mid-morning snack two hours after eating breakfast. The serving sizes were equal between the two foods. The researchers found the people exhibited lower hunger and the desire to eat after eating the almonds 7.
High satiety food is likely to have a high satiety score for the following reasons:
- High in protein.
- High in fiber.
- High in volume (foods containing a lot of water or air).
- Low in energy density (foods low in calories for their weight).
Find out how the satiety compared between almonds and cashews in my article, Cashews vs Almonds: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.
The Health Benefits of Pistachios and Almonds
The nutrients in pistachios and almonds are pretty similar and therefore offer the same type of benefits. The following describes how each nutrient may benefit health.
- Pistachios contain 1,010 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
- Almonds contain 733 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
Some medical experts recommend the potassium to sodium ratio of 4:1. Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 8.
Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 9.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 10. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.
- Almonds contain 270 mg of magnesium per 100 grams.
- Pistachios contain 109 mg of magnesium per 100 grams.
Magnesium helps keep blood pressure levels stable and balanced. Recent scientific research examined previous studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 11.
Magnesium helps control the following:
- Blood sugar
- Nerve function
- Blood pressure
In the heart and muscles, magnesium competes with calcium to help the muscles relax after contracting. When the body is low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscle’s cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat 12.
One reason many people supplement with magnesium in the evening is because it helps calm the whole body including blood vessels.
- Almonds contain 269 mg of calcium per 100 grams.
- Pistachios contain 107 mg of calcium per 100 grams.
Calcium is important for the heart and blood pressure. Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure by helping in the controlling of the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 13.
Calcium also helps the following:
- Helps nerve function.
- Maintain and build strong bones.
- Help the muscles to function properly.
- Almonds contain 481 mg of phosphorus per 100 grams.
- Pistachios contain 469 mg of phosphorus per 100 grams.
Phosphorus has been shown in scientific studies to help with the following:
- Promote healthy nerve conduction.
- Promote bone and teeth strength.
- Muscle contraction.
- Muscle recovery.
- Help the kidneys remove waste.
- Help the body manage and store energy.
- Pistachios contain 4.03 mg of iron per 100 grams.
- Almonds contain 3.70 mg of iron per 100 grams.
Iron is essential in the creation of red blood cells and is a necessary part of any healthy diet. Iron is also vital for growth and development, as some hormones need iron to be appropriately balanced 14.
- Almonds contain 12.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
- Pistachios contain 10.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
Soluble fiber is helpful for many reasons 15. What makes fiber soluble is it dissolves in water.
Soluble fiber is known for the following:
- Manage the blood glucose levels which helps decrease the risk of diabetes.
- Helps avoid constipation and have a more regular stool.
- Help overall digestive health.
- Aids greatly in weight management because it allows you to feel full faster and eat less.
- Almonds provide 21.2 grams of protein per 100 grams.
- Pistachios provide 21 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Both nuts are a good source of protein. Protein may help benefit the following:
- Reduce appetite
- Build and repair muscle
- Boost metabolism
- Weight loss
Pistachios provide a higher percentage of four of the six B vitamins listed below. The B vitamins provided include the following:
- B1 (thiamin)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B9 (folate)
B vitamins help support the following:
- Brain function.
- Red blood cells.
- Nerve function.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Energy levels.
A lack of B vitamins has been associated with oxidative stress and neural inflammation.
In a study released in 2018 32 healthy adults were given B vitamin supplementation for six months. The results indicated preliminary evidence B vitamin supplementation reduced oxidative stress and inflammation 16.
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- USDA: Nuts, almonds
- USDA: Nuts, pistachio nuts, dry roasted, without salt added
- Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Evaluation of the Influence of Raw Almonds on Appetite Control: Satiation, Satiety, Hedonics and Consumer Perceptions
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach
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- Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
- National Institutes of Health: Iron
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Pistachios for Health: What Do We Know About This Multifaceted Nut?
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- Wikipedia: Almond
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