Weight Loss Tips: Go Nuts

Weight Loss Tip: Go NutsWeight Loss Tip: Go Nuts

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Nuts can be healthy and help with weight loss.  

Assorted Nuts

Assorted Nuts

For years, people have recommended avoiding nuts because of their high-fat and calorie content.  They have been vilified for causing anything from obesity to diverticulitis.  Today, we can celebrate nuts for their nutritional value because “nuts are unhealthy could not be further from the truth.”  Nuts will not ruin your weight loss plans and the fats are heart healthy.  Nuts are high in monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and fiber content which makes them not only heart healthy but also good for your digestive tract.   

An article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed data from other studies on nuts conducted worldwide[1].  The available data from these studies demonstrate that nut consumption is not associated with higher BMI compared with non-nut consumers despite the fact that nuts are fat- and energy-dense foods. The did conclude that more research is needed to look at the effects of nut consumption on energy balance, body weight, and anthropometric parameters.  Despite these limitations, tThe review found there was very little difference in weight among people who ate nuts and those who didn’t.  This finding doesn’t mean that eating nuts will cause you to lose weight, but that it probably won’t contribute to significant weight gains. Just remember that not all nuts are created equal and portion control is key to maintaining and losing weight.  

Another study found similar results when they reviewed the data from the eight-year Nurses Health Study in 2009[2].  The data from nearly 52,000 women were used to develop prospective conclusions.  The researchers determined that higher nut consumption was not associated with greater body weight gain during in healthy middle-aged women. Instead, it was associated with a slightly lower risk of weight gain and obesity. The results of this study suggest that incorporating nuts into diets does not lead to greater weight gain and may help weight control.  

Research on Nuts and Weight Loss:

  1. Nut Cracker

    Nut Cracker

    Nuts increase satiety.  Several studies have shown that eating small amounts of nuts helps dieters lose weight because the fiber and protein help dieters feel full longer[3],. Dieters are less like to overeat and more successful at losing weight.

  2. Nuts make your diet sticky.  Dieters also stick with their eating plans longer if nuts are included.  In a study Jackson and Hu from 2014, results confirmed higher nut consumption does not appear to cause greater weight gain; rather, nuts may be beneficial for weight control by contributing to satiety and potentially improving long-term adherence to healthful diets.  Dieters did not feel like they were on a diet when they were allowed to eat nuts so they adhered to the diet better.  This is confirmation of the results of a prior study from 2001 done at Harvard[4].  The prior 50 patient study found that a moderate-fat, Mediterranean-style diet, controlled in energy, offers an alternative to a low-fat diet with superior long-term participation and adherence, with improvements in weight loss.  
  3. Snack on nuts.  Despite prior beliefs on nuts, studies have shown that women who snack on nuts tend to weigh less than those who do not[5],[6],[7].  It appears that just help with weight loss.  

Suggestions to avoid going too nutty:

  1. Control the portions size.  Buy single-serving bags and use them to limit your portion size.  
  2. Prep your nuts.  Weigh out a single serving and place them in bags so you not will eat too much.  Measure our servings and only eat a serving.  
  3. Work for your nuts.  Buy nuts in the shell and you may eat fewer since it takes a lot of time to work to get the nut out of the shell.  
  4. Add nuts to your food.  Nuts are great added to salads or desserts such as greek yogurt.  By adding them, you will limit your consumption.  

The bottom line:  Eating fatty nuts may not ruin your diet. Nuts can help keep you feeling full for a longer period of time and should help limit your calorie consumption. The key concept for success is portion control.  Nuts are high in calories and healthy fat so a little will add a significant amount of calories.  I recommend that you eat them slowly and drink water while you consume them.  

Footnotes
[1]Sabaté, “Nut Consumption and Body Weight.”
[2]Bes-Rastrollo et al., “Prospective Study of Nut Consumption, Long-Term Weight Change, and Obesity Risk in Women.”
[3]Cassady et al., “Mastication of Almonds: Effects of Lipid Bioaccessibility, Appetite, and Hormone Response.”
[4]McManus, Antinoro, and Sacks, “A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Moderate-Fat, Low-Energy Diet Compared with a Low-Fat, Low-Energy Diet for Weight Loss in Overweight Adults.”
[5]Bes-Rastrollo et al., “Prospective Study of Nut Consumption, Long-Term Weight Change, and Obesity Risk in Women.”
[6]Jackson and Hu, “Long-Term Associations of Nut Consumption with Body Weight and Obesity.”
[7]Flores-Mateo et al., “Nut Intake and Adiposity: Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials.”
Bes-Rastrollo, M., N. M Wedick, M. A. Martinez-Gonzalez, T. Y Li, L. Sampson, and F. B Hu. “Prospective Study of Nut Consumption, Long-Term Weight Change, and Obesity Risk in Women.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. American Society for Nutrition, April 29, 2009. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.27276
Cassady, BA, JH Hollis, AD Fulford, RV Considine, and RD Mattes. “Mastication of Almonds: Effects of Lipid Bioaccessibility, Appetite, and Hormone Response.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 89, no. 3 (March 1, 2009): 794–800. [PubMed]
Flores-Mateo, G, D Rojas-Rueda, J Basora, E Ros, and J Salas-Salvadó. “Nut Intake and Adiposity: Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 97, no. 6 (June 1, 2013): 1346–55. [PubMed]
Jackson, CL, and FB Hu. “Long-Term Associations of Nut Consumption with Body Weight and Obesity.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 100 Suppl 1 (July 1, 2014): 408S–11S. [PubMed]
McManus, K, L Antinoro, and F Sacks. “A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Moderate-Fat, Low-Energy Diet Compared with a Low-Fat, Low-Energy Diet for Weight Loss in Overweight Adults.” International Journal of Obesity. Springer Nature, October 2001. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0801796
Sabaté, J. “Nut Consumption and Body Weight.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78, no. 3 Suppl (September 1, 2003): 647S–650S. [PubMed]
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About the Author

ChuckH

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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