Because nuts are an energy dense food with a high fat content, there is a widespread perception that eating nuts causes weight gain.
But decades of research show that this is not true. Nuts are actually associated with a decreased  risk of being overweight or obese, and regularly eating nuts reduces body weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference [1]

How do nuts help manage weight?

  • An abundance of healthy fats, fibre and protein mean nuts satisfy hunger and reduce your appetite. A handful of nuts releases satiety hormones in the digestive system which help tell you when you’re full [2, 3].
  • The fibrous cell walls in nuts stop our bodies absorbing up to 15% of the kilojoules (or calories) in nuts [4-6].
  • Eating nuts can significantly reduce the number of calories consumed at later meals – i.e. you’ll eat less [7].
  • Regularly eating nuts can boost your resting metabolic rate by 5-10%, meaning that your body is burning more kilojoules (or calories).

How many nuts?

A serve of nuts is 30g, or about one handful. And we should all aim to eat at least one handful every day. But there’s no reason why you can’t eat more. Research suggests that around two handfuls (60g) each day helps lower cholesterol [8], and that you can eat up to 120g nuts each day without gaining weight [1].

Which nuts are best?

Studies have been conducted on many different tree nuts. The take out? All nuts have a positive effect on weight, so enjoy a variety of nuts every day. However, it’s best to enjoy raw or roasted, unsalted nuts as your everyday choice, saving salted nuts for special occasions.

References

  1. Li, H., et al., Nut consumption and risk of metabolic syndrome and overweight/obesity: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies and randomized trials. Nutr Metab (Lond), 2018. 15: p. 46.
  2. Cassady, B.A., et al., Mastication of almonds: effects of lipid bioaccessibility, appetite, and hormone response. Am J Clin Nutr, 2009. 89(3): p. 794-800.
  3. Pasman, W.J., et al., The effect of Korean pine nut oil on in vitro CCK release, on appetite sensations and on gut hormones in post-menopausal overweight women. Lipids Health Dis, 2008. 7: p. 10.
  4. Mandalari, G., et al., The effects of processing and mastication on almond lipid bioaccessibility using novel methods of in vitro digestion modelling and micro-structural analysis. Br J Nutr, 2014. 112(9): p. 1521-9.
  5. Ellis, P.R., et al., Role of cell walls in the bioaccessibility of lipids in almond seeds. Am J Clin Nutr, 2004. 80(3): p. 604-13.
  6. Novotny, J.A., S.K. Gebauer, and D.J. Baer, Discrepancy between the Atwater factor predicted and empirically measured energy values of almonds in human diets. Am J Clin Nutr, 2012. 96(2): p. 296-301.
  7. Hull, S., et al., A mid-morning snack of almonds generates satiety and appropriate adjustment of subsequent food intake in healthy women. Eur J Nutr, 2015. 54(5): p. 803-10.
  8. Sabate, J., K. Oda, and E. Ros, Nut consumption and blood lipid levels: a pooled analysis of 25 intervention trials. Arch Intern Med, 2010. 170(9): p. 821-7.
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