Just a handful of nuts each day is enough to reduce weight gain and can aid weight loss, new research finds.
Half-an-ounce of nuts, instead of unhealthy snacks like potato chips or French Fries, can help to ward off weight gain.
On average, US adults put on 1lb of weight each year.
Stopping this gradual increase is key to fighting obesity.
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.”
The conclusions come from a study of 51,529 people who were followed up over 20 years or more.
The results showed that people put on an average of 0.71lbs each year.
However, those who ate more nuts put on less weight and were at lower risk of becoming obese.
Eating half a serving of nuts per day reduced the risk of becoming obese by 23 percent.
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.”
Nuts make people feel fuller because of their high fibre content.
Nut fibres also bind to fats in the gut, which means more calories are excreted.
The study’s authors write:
“In addition to the impact on human health, using environmentally friendly plant-based protein, such as nuts and seeds to replace animal sources of protein may contribute to the promotion of a global sustainable food system.”
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 study was published in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health (Liu et al., 2019).