Many people leave nuts out of their eating plan when trying to lose weight, because they think they are too high in calories. However, this is a big mistake.
It’s obvious nuts are high in calories, but studies show that those who eat nuts regularly tend to have a lower BMI in comparison to those who don’t.
In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 81 healthy adults were told to supplement their diet with almonds every day (320 calories worth); no further instructions about food intake were given. After six months average body weight increased only 0.40 kg. Another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, looked at 20 healthy, overweight women who were given 65 grams of almonds for 10 weeks. Weight gain was predicted, but instead their weights went on average from 155.9 pounds to 154.6 pounds. The researchers concluded that a daily (340 calorie) serving of almonds may be included in the diet with limited risk of weight gain
So, it seems clear the impact of nut consumption on weight is either negligible, or non existent.
Also, remember that in these studies, participants were not on any sort of diet. They simply added nuts to their normal way to eating.
Another study, published in the International Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders, looked at 65 overweight or obese individuals, and compared the effect of adding 84g of almonds per day, verses self-selected complex carbs. They found that the almond-enriched, low calorie diet lead to greater reductions in body weight, BMI, waist circumference and fat mass.
The evidence is pretty compelling to suggest nuts can, and should, be included in your regular or weight loss diet, without fearing that you will gain weight.
Here Are 3 Reasons Why Nuts Aren’t Fattening:
1. Nuts Are Satisfying
When you eat nuts your appetite is reduced, and that means a reduction in energy intake at subsequent meals over the course of one day.
2. Not All Fat Is Absorbed
Not all of the fat contained in nuts is efficiently absorbed by the gut. It’s suggested that up to 20 percent of the lipid content of nuts will be lost in the stool, which is around 10-20 percent of the energy contained in nuts.
3. Nuts stimulate metabolism
Some studies show that nuts can increase the metabolic rate by more than 10 percent.
To think of weight loss as merely calories in, calories out is a gross oversimplification of reality. And, when you focus too much on calorie intake, if often leads to a low calorie diet, which isn’t necessarily healthy (e.g. so-called “diet” foods). Also, these foods don’t satisfy your appetite which means you’re always hungry, and therefore yo-yo dieting is inevitable.
The key with adding nuts to your diet, is to eat them instead of rather than in addition to less nutritious foods, which you may already be eating.
So, rather than binging on carb-heavy snacks between meals, go for a handful of raw, unsalted nuts, and don’t feel guilty about it.
Number of nuts in a 1oz (30g) serving:
- Almonds: 20-24
- Brazil nuts: 6-8
- Cashews: 16-18
- Hazelnuts: 18-20
- Pecans: 18-20 (halves)
- Pine Nuts: 150-157
- Pistachios: 45-47
- Walnuts: 8-11
Image source: Egahen