A randomized controlled trial from UCLA found that including mixed tree nuts in a weight management program resulted in significant weight loss and improved satiety. Tree nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
The researchers compared 95 overweight or obese men and women who consumed either 1.5 ounces of mixed tree nuts or a pretzel snack for 12 weeks. Both snacks provided the same number of calories, as part of a low-calorie weight loss diet (500 calories less than resting metabolic rate). This was followed by a weight maintenance program for an additional 12 weeks.
After three and six months, participants experienced weight loss (12 weeks: a loss of 1.6 kg/3.5 lbs) and 1.9 kg/4 lbs) and at 24 weeks: 1.5 kg/3.3 lbs and 1.4 kg/3 lbs) in the tree nut and pretzel snack groups, respectively.
However, satiety was significantly higher at the end of week 24 among participants whose diet included the tree nuts, and there was a trend toward greater weight maintenance compared to the pretzel group.
This study adds to a growing body of evidence showing that nut consumption may be a useful tool in weight management.
But what about the extra calories?
Yes, nuts are high in calories, mostly from healthy fats. Yet, there’s no scientific evidence that eating nuts on a regular basis causes weight gain.
Rather, studies suggest that nut eaters experience less weight gain and have a lower risk of obesity than people who don’t eat them, likely because eating them increases satiety.
Tree nuts are a good source of protein, healthy fats and fibre, which makes them so satiating. This may be one reason why this latest study found less weight gain in the tree nut group during weight maintenance compared to the pretzel group.
To prevent adding excess calories to your diet, swap nuts for snacks like granola bars, crackers, cookies and chips. Measure and pre-portion nuts for snacks. Eating nuts in the shell, like pistachios, can also help control portion size since it takes more time to crack and eat them.
Source: Nutrients, April 30, 2021.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.