By now, probably everyone knows that nuts have multiple health benefits. They contain large quantities of protein, and the healthy fats in them can have positive impacts on the brain. For example, walnuts are considered to be an excellent source of omega-3 fats. However, these healthy fats (and their calories) have lead to the perception that consuming too many nuts will cause weight gain. But is this true?
A journal article from 2015 titled ‘Nuts and Body Weight – An Overview’ by Lutz and Luna challenged this view. They stated that eating five or more servings of nuts weekly did not lead people to weigh any more than those who ate less than one serving weekly. They reported that in individuals with high cardiovascular risk, the more nuts eaten, the smaller the prevalence of obesity.
The European Journal of Nutrition has recently published a journal article that is related to this topic. ‘Nut intake and 5-year changes in body weight and obesity risk in adults: results from the EPIC-PANACEA study’ by Freisling et al. reveals results on a survey conducted on almost 400,000 people across Europe over the course of five years. Interestingly, they found that on average, participants gained over two kilograms during the duration of the study. However, participants who ate the most nuts not only gained less weight but also decreased their chances of becoming overweight by 5%.
Why does eating more nuts, a very calorie dense food, make you lose weight? The article from 2015 provided some answers. Eating more nuts makes you decrease the amount of food consumed in a meal. It also makes you eat fewer meals in total. This is due to the impact that nuts have on gut hormones, and potentially by the fact that nuts need more chewing than some other foods.
Does this mean that after eating tons of junk food you can simply eat some nuts and magically lose weight? Unfortunately not. Researchers also attributed the weight loss to the fact that those who frequently eat nuts are more likely to have a healthier diet overall. So you can't just lose weight eating nuts; keep eating your salads – just add some nuts to it!
If you would like to incorporate more nuts into your diet, you could try this recipe.