Nuts are packed with nutrients, but they are also packed with calories and fat. For example, only 14 walnut halves have 185 calories and 83% of their calories come from fat.
Many people who are dieting choose to avoid nuts exactly for this reason. Lots of calories, lots of fat, so they are fattening, right? Well, not really. Keep reading.
To date, there have been 18 clinical trials on nuts and weight gain/loss. In the trials, scientists added entire handfuls of various nuts to people’s daily diet and observed what happened to their weight. In 2 of the 18 studies people did actually gain a few pounds, but much less than expected. However, in 14 of the studies there was no significant weight change reported. Not only that, but in the other two studies people actually lost weight!
To comprehend the significance of this result consider one of the 14 studies who showed no weight gain. They added 3/4 of a cup of pecans a day for 8 weeks. This is more than 3,000 calories added every week! They expected to see a gain of about 6 pounds at the end of the study, yet there was no weight gain at all.
These clinical trials took place over just a few weeks or months. So, what about long-term? After all, perhaps in the short run nuts don’t lead to weight gain, but then after years of eating nuts weight gain becomes apparent. This question was analyzed in 6 different ways, in studies lasting from one year to 8 years – the famous Harvard nurses health study. One of these studies found no significant change, while the other 5 out of 6 found significantly less weight gain and risk of abdominal obesity due to additional consumption of nuts.
How is it possible that 90% of studies ever done on nuts and weight gain showed at the very least no weight gain? Where did the nut calories go? We will explore this fascinating question in future posts.
In the meantime, remember that even if you’re dieting, you should eat at least one handful of nuts a day.
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