Eating a handful of nuts each day is linked to a lower risk of obesity, new research finds.
They are best used to replace an unhealthy snack, such as crisps, red meat, fries, or another processed food.
Brazil nuts, peanuts and other varieties of nut are all linked to cardiovascular benefits along with reducing the risk of weight gain.
Brazil nuts in particular have been shown to help stabilise blood glucose levels and increase feelings of fullness.
Almonds and walnuts are also healthy types of nuts to substitute for less healthy food choices.
The conclusions come from two studies: the first followed approximately 125,000 people across four years.
The results clearly showed that a one-ounce portion of nuts was linked to a lower risk of weight gain.
Dr Xiaoran Liu, the study’s first author, said:
“People often see nuts as food items high in fat and calories, so they hesitate to consider them as healthy snacks, but they are in fact associated with less weight gain and wellness.”
Dr Liu says that prevention is better than cure:
“Once people reach adulthood, they start to gradually gain about one pound a year of weight, which seems small.
But if you consider gaining one pound over 20 years, it accumulates to a lot of weight gain.
Adding one ounce of nuts to your diet in place of less healthy foods — such as red or processed meat, French fries or sugary snacks — may help prevent that slow, gradual weight gain after you enter adulthood and reduce the risk of obesity-related cardiovascular diseases.”
A second study of Brazil nut consumption included 20 people who ate either Brazil nuts or pretzels as a snack, in addition to their normal diet.
Dr Mee Young Hong, who led the study, explained the results:
“While both Brazil nuts and pretzels increased a sense of fullness after they were eaten, eating Brazil nuts stabilized postprandial (after eating) blood glucose and insulin levels, which may be beneficial in preventing diabetes and weight gain.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The two studies were presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago.