Nuts are one of those foods which provide a compelling negative example of how fat is not the enemy of weight loss. Nuts are generally high in fat and calories. Logic would have it that they should be excluded or limited in any diet plan. However, studies show otherwise. In this post I want to show you how eating nuts can actually help you to lose weight.
I’m not just basing this on my own experience, although I eat an assortment of nuts on a daily basis. I have research to back up my habits.
The first study deals with pistachios, one of my favorite nuts. In a study published in the Journal of the American College on Nutrition , two groups of people were put on a calorie restricted diet. Each person ate a diet which consisted of 500 less calories than their resting metabolism. There was, however, one difference between the two groups. The first was given a snack of pistachios which contained 240 calories in total while the second was given pretzels which contained 220 calories.
After 12 weeks on such a diet, the weight loss of the two groups was compared. What was found is quite interesting: the first group, the one who ate pistachios lost more weight than the second group of subjects even though their snack contained more calories. Eating pistachio was found to be better for weight loss than the carbs in pretzels.
A second study examined almonds and their effect on weight . Two groups of people were studies and one of them was given a daily almond dose for 10 weeks. Due to the higher calorie content of the almonds, researchers assumed that the almond eaters will gain weight. Not so, they actually lost a bit. In addition, the research indicated that the diet quality of those who ate almonds increased in a number of ways.
Why Are Nuts good For Weight Loss
Nuts are calorie dense and high in fat. Why, then, are they good for weight loss? According to a paper written at Purdue University , the reason may be that nuts are a high satiety food. By that I mean that they help to make you feel full. So, you are eating a lot of calories but you can actually end up eating less calories as a whole because you are less hungry.
Another intersting finding is that our body may not be able to efficiently absorb all the calories from nuts. The digestive process of nuts is calorie expensive in itself, our body needs to work hard to digest nuts so some of the calories that you consume through nuts may either not be absorbed, and later secreted, or may be compensated by the calories you expend to digest these nuts.
Nuts may also help to improve insulin sensitivity so you are better able to process sugar . This may be part of the reason why nuts help to make you feel full.
I won’t go into the various health benefits that nuts, almonds, and pistachios may provide. I’ll just say that these are some of the best sources of healthy fat and protein that you can find and you should definitely make them a part of your diet.
You need to make sure that you don’t consider any food with nuts as healthy. Snack bars with nuts may contain other ingredients which make them fattening and unhealthy. Nuts don’t undo the “damage” made by other foods. Salted nuts, for instance, are not recommended. Get only natural nuts.
I eat nuts with my salad, with my morning oatmeal, and as a snack. I believe that taking a small bag of nuts to work with you will go a long way to solve cravings.
So, don’t be afraid of nuts. They can actually help you lose weight.
1. Li Z, Song R, Nguyen C, Zerlin A. Pistachio nuts reduce triglycerides and body weight by comparison to refined carbohydrate snack in obese subjects on a 12-week weight loss program. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Jun;29(3):198-203.
2. Hollis J, Mattes R. Effect of chronic consumption of almonds on body weight in healthy humans. Br J Nutr. 2007 Sep;98(3):651-6. Epub 2007 Apr 20.
3. Mattes RD, Dreher ML. Nuts and healthy body weight maintenance mechanisms. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19(1):137-41.
4. Casas-Agustench P, López-Uriarte P, Bulló M. Effects of one serving of mixed nuts on serum lipids, insulin resistance and inflammatory markers in patients with the metabolic syndrome. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011 Feb;21(2):126-35. Epub 2009 Dec 22.
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