Will a diet containing nuts ; a food high in calories and fat; lead to weight gain? The surprising answer is no. In fact, adding nuts to your diet could even help you to lose weight. The natural assumption that nuts will cause weight gain has been challenged by a number of scientific studies examining the relationship of a diet containing nuts and body weight. Many studies have found that eating nuts actually doesn't cause an increase in body weight, and may even help you lose weight more easily and efficiently.
Two clinical trials, in which participants were provided with almonds to be eaten daily but given no instruction related to diet or lifestyle behaviors, found that eating nuts has little impact on body weight . In both studies it was predicted that participants would gain several pounds with the addition of nuts to their diet, but in fact they gained little or no weight.
It seems clear that adding nuts to your diet doesn't necessarily mean gaining weight, but can eating nuts help you lose weight? Several clinical studies have found that, surprisingly, adding nuts to a weight loss diet can improve the diet's effectiveness [2, 3]. One trial examined the effectiveness of a weight loss program that included almonds with one including complex carbohydrates. This study, which included 65 adult participants, found that the group that consumed almonds lost more weight and had a greater decrease in Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference, and fat mass than those who were in the complex carbohydrate group. Another study found that a diet containing moderate amounts of fat, including fat from nuts, was more successful in terms of weight loss and adherence than a low-fat diet.
How Can Nuts Help You Lose Weight?
Although nuts are a food high in fat and calories, there is reason to believe that the addition of a moderate amount of nuts to your diet will not cause you to gain weight, and may in fact be a helpful part of a diet geared toward weight loss. Nuts make you feel fuller and eat less, contain fat that is difficult for the body to absorb, and can increase the number of calories you expend while your body is at rest. With all these advantages, it's no surprise that some of the best weight loss programs recommend you include nuts in your diet in order to gain and maintain a healthy body weight.
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2. Rajaram S, Sabate J. Nuts, body weight and insulin resistance. Br J Nutr. 2006;96:S79–86.
3. Alper CM, Mattes RD. The effects of chronic peanut consumption on energy balance and hedonics. Int J Obes. 2002;26:1129–37.
4. Kirkmeyer SV, Mattes RD. Effects of food attributes on hunger and food intake. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000;24:1167–75.
5. Ellis PR, Kendall CWC, Ren Y, Parker C, Pacy JF, Waldron KW, Jenkins DJA. Role of cell walls in the bioaccessibility of lipids in almond seeds. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:604–13.
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