21 October 2022 at 17:46
The Nutty Truth: Research shows nuts can help you lose weight
Many people avoid nuts because they are high in calories and fat, and dieters are often led to believe that nuts will ruin their weight loss targets. But this just isn’t true. As long as you don’t have a nut allergy - they have a whole host of health benefits, which includes benefits to your waistline!
How much fat do we get from nuts?
It’s true, that nuts represent a concentrated source of fat in the diet – a 20g serving of nuts can provide over 10g of fat, depending on the type of nut. But since nuts are high in fibre, some of this fat passes through the digestive system without being absorbed by the body. The more processed the nuts are (e.g. ground nuts or nut butters) the more fat is absorbed – so whole nuts will provide less fat than the processed equivalent. But that’s only one part of the puzzle!
Can nuts prevent weight gain?
A number of clinical studies have shown that eating nuts regularly is actually associated with a lower risk of weight gain. One study which ran for more than 2 years found that people who ate nuts at least twice a week were nearly a third less likely to gain weight than those who rarely or never ate nuts.
Many other studies have had similar outcomes, finding that consumption of nuts had no relationship to weight gain, BMI or waist size.
Can nuts help weight loss?
As well as reducing the risk of gaining weight – surprisingly, adding nuts has also been shown to boost weight loss (and specifically, the loss of body fat) in people following a low-calorie diet.
One way that nuts can promote weight loss is by helping to stabilise blood sugar, reducing hunger and cravings. A small amount of nuts eaten in the morning can lead to an overall decrease in the number of calories eaten later in the day.
There is also some evidence that nuts increase the amount of calories burned – although there are many, many factors that influence this so it’s hard to say how much of an effect nuts have.
Are there any other benefits of nuts?
Yes! Nuts are high in fibre and packed with minerals and antioxidants. Brazil nuts in particular are a highly concentrated source of the antioxidant selenium. The majority of fat found in nuts is unsaturated, which is very different to saturated fats found in animal products. Unsaturated fats are associated with a healthy diet and a reduced risk of heart disease, improving cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Nuts are also a key component of a blood sugar balancing diet, which can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
For anyone without a nut allergy who is trying to lose weight, eating 25-30g of nuts several times a week is much more likely to be beneficial than detrimental to your health. And for those who are already at their ideal weight, adding unsalted, mixed nuts to the diet provides many other health benefits.