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Fat Content in Pistachio Nuts

By Sara Kirchheimer

One cup, or 123g, of unshelled, raw pistachio nuts contains 56g of fat, including 6.8g of saturated fat, 29g of monounsaturated fat, and 17g of polyunsaturated fat. Pistachio nuts do not contain cholesterol, but a 1-cup serving does contain 263mg of cholesterol-like phytosterols that lower blood serum levels of bad, low-density lipoproteins. A 1-cup serving of unshelled pistachios contains 691 calories.

Saturated Fats

A 1-cup serving of pistachio nuts contains 6.143g of saturated palmitic fatty acid, only 0.585g of stearic fatty acid and trace amounts of arachidic and behenic saturated fatty acids. At 11 percent of total fatty acids, pistachio’s palmitic acid content is similar to healthy peanut, soybean and corn oils, and significantly lower than lard, tallow, cocoa butter and palm oils, which range from 25 to 40 percent.

Monounsaturated Fats

One cup of pistachio nuts contains 28.5g monounsaturated oleic fatty acid and trace amounts of palmitoleic and gadoleic acids. Dietary consumption of high amounts of oleic acid, among other healthy food choices, potentially reduces human serum cholesterol by as much as 10 percent. At 48 percent oleic fatty acid content, pistachio nuts are similar to peanut oil, but contain significantly less oleic acid than olive oil at 70 percent.

Polyunsaturated Fats

One cup of pistachio nuts contains 17g of polyunsaturated omega-6 linoleic fatty acid and a trace amount of gamma linolenic acid. The human body cannot synthesize linoleic or linolenic acids, but these fats are common in seeds and nuts. They were the first dietary fatty acids recognized to reduce risks of heart disease. At 30 percent linoleic acid content, pistachio nuts are similar to peanut oil and exceed the linoleic acid content of conventional canola oil. However, several common oils contain significantly higher percentages of linoleic acids, including walnut at 51 percent, soybean at 54 percent, sunflower at 68 percent, grapeseed oil at 73 percent and safflower oil at 78 percent.


A 1-cup serving of pistachio nuts contains 263mg of phytosterols, including 244mg of beta-sitosterol and trace amounts of stigmasterol and campesterol. Plants produce phytosterols for structural support to their cell walls, where phytosterol’s function is similar to cholesterol in animal cell membranes. In mammals, dietary consumption of phytosterols by healthy individuals keeps serum cholesterol in the normal range by inhibiting absorption of dietary cholesterol.

Other Pistachio Nutrients

In addition to fatty acids, a 1-cup serving of pistachio nuts contains 33g of carbohydrates, 24.93g of protein and 12g of dietary fiber. One cup of pistachios also contains 129mg of calcium, 149mg of magnesium, 603mg of phosphorus, 1261mg of potassium, 510 units of vitamin A and 1728mcg of lutein+zeaxanthin.

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