American Pistachio Growers (APG) has added a new Brand Ambassador to their lineup of world-class athletes who now claim the nutritious nut as their “Official Snack.” Cheryl Forberg, RD, the chef/nutritionist for NBC’s hit show The Biggest Loser will contribute to the grower organization’s outreach efforts, educating consumers worldwide about the nut that’s gaining global attention as a snack that supports healthy weight goals.
“Mindful snacking is an important tool in weight loss and management,” said Forberg. “With their lower fat content–most of which is the healthy fat our bodies need–plus fiber, protein and phytonutrients, pistachios help keep hunger at bay while adding positively to your nutritional intake. In my latest book you’ll find I talk about anthocyanin, a naturally-occurring plant chemical in pistachios thought to boost the immune system. All things taken into consideration, they’re an ideal snack for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.”
Forberg was tapped for the television show (about to begin its 17th season) in the beginning and has worked with contestants to achieve their goals ever since. While the public often focuses on the grueling physical exercise contestants undergo on camera, nutrition education is cited by many as the game-changer for big weight loss.
“I was a mindless snacker and an over-eater. It wasn’t uncommon for me to consume 5- or 6,000 calories per day,” said Sonya Jones, a contestant on Season 16 of The Biggest Loser. “Cheryl helped me change my life, teaching me to eat well while eating right. Part of that has been to choose snacks that add happiness, but don’t add weight when eaten mindfully. I like to snack on pistachios, and one serving is about 49 nuts, so I feel full longer.” Jones did not win the season’s contest, losing by less than one pound. “I don’t mind that I didn’t win. I won a happier, new life and probably a longer one, too” she said.
Overweight and obesity are thought to significantly raise the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers, and even death, according to Forberg. Moreover, people who are overweight or obese can suffer from depression, poor self-esteem and social stigmatization.
APG cites more than 27 studies published in scientific journals that demonstrate pistachios may be a useful tool in the battle against weight.
“As the scientific evidence was accumulating, we knew Cheryl was the perfect person to help us educate consumers on the benefits of pistachios as a part of an eating plan of high quality foods the whole family can enjoy- whether or not they need to lose weight,” said Judy Hirigoyen, VP of Global Marketing for the grower-run trade association. “She’s respected by consumers and health experts alike, and she believes in pistachios.”