Menu Image

Nut intake and 5-year changes in body weight and obesity risk in adults: results from the EPIC-PANACEA study

Freisling H, Noh H, Slimani N, Chajès V, May AM, Peeters PH et al.
Eur J Nutr. 2017 Jul 21. doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1513-0

A study recently published in the European Journal of Nutrition has found that people who include nuts in their diet are more likely to reduce weight gain and lower the risk of overweight and obesity.

The five year study evaluated data from more than 373,000 Europeans between the ages of 25 and 70. It found that participants gained a mean average of 2.1 kilograms during the five-year period of the study. However, participants who ate the most nuts not only had less weight gain than their nut-abstaining peers, but also enjoyed a 5 percent lower risk of becoming overweight or obese.

Senior investigator Joan Sabaté, director of the Centre for Nutrition, Lifestyle and Disease Prevention at LLUSPH and junior investigator Heinz Freisling, a nutritional epidemiologist with the Nutritional Methodology and Biostatistics group at IARC headquarters in France, have evaluated nuts in the past and found that they are positively associated with a variety of health benefits, including healthy aging and memory function in seniors. This study, however, represents the first time they have investigated the relationship between nuts and weight on a large scale. Peanuts, (technically a legume), were included in the study along with almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts, which are classified as tree nuts.

The team analysed information on the dietary practices and body mass indexes of 373,293 participants, working with data gathered by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) and Nutrition. Although Sabaté and Freisling extracted and analysed the data and reported the findings, they were joined by 35 other research scientists from 12 European countries and Malaysia who reviewed the paper ahead of publication.

People often think of nuts as being an energy-dense, high-fat food and therefore not a good choice for individuals who want to lose weight. The findings of this research very much contradict that assumption.