Eating Nuts Daily May Help Slow Weight Gain
People often think of nuts as a high calorie, high fat snack, but in moderation they can be a great healthy snack. Two recent studies suggest that eating Brazil nuts and other types of nuts may help prevent weight gain and also boost cardiovascular health.
Participants in the first study included 25,394 men who took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, 53,541 women who took part in the Nurse's Health Study and 47,255 women who took part in the Nurse's Health Study II. Nut consumption was tracked via a food-frequency questionnaire that was submitted every four years.
After examining the data, the researchers found that eating a daily serving of any type of nut or peanuts was associated with a lower risk of gaining weight or becoming obese over a four-year interval. They also found that substituting one serving per day of any type of nuts in place of one serving of red meat, processed meat, French fries, desserts, or potato chips was associated with less weight gain over the four-year intervals.
Participants in the second study included 22 healthy adults aged 20 or older, with a mean body mass index of 22.3. They consumed either 36 grams of pretzels or 20 grams of Brazil nuts (approximately 5 nuts) in addition to their usual diet. They ate the nuts or pretzels in two trials with a washout period of at least 48 hours.
The researchers found that both Brazil nuts and pretzels significantly increased a sense of fullness and reduced feelings of hunger, although the greatest sense of fullness was experienced by the participants that ate Brazil nuts. They also found that eating Brazil nuts stabilized postprandial blood glucose and insulin levels. In comparison, pretzels caused a significant increase in blood glucose and insulin 40 minutes after they were eaten.
The studies were conducted by researchers from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and San Diego State University. They were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago, which took place from November 10 to November 12, 2018.
In the United States, nuts are typically consumed in the form of snack food. If you want to add more nuts to your diet, you can try replacing unhealthy snacks such as chips and candy bars with raw, unsalted nuts.