Nuts are tiny packages filled with a vast amount of energy. They are rich in fibre and proteins. Despite being small, they can provide a lot of nutrition. You may worry about gaining those extra calories from the nuts, but studies have proven that eating nuts is considered as one of the easiest ways to control the weight gain.1
Scientific studies have demonstrated that you can make nuts a part of your healthy diet during adulthood as they can help prevent obesity.2 This article will help you in understanding the benefits of eating nuts and their role in controlling obesity.
What are the nutrition facts of nuts?
There are several varieties of nuts ranging from peanuts, which are technically legumes, to walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, pecans, pistachio and almonds.3,4 Each variety of nuts has a different nutritional content in it. However, nuts typically provide between 23.4 and 26.8 kJ/g of energy, and their fat content ranges from 45 to 75% of their weight, mostly in the form of unsaturated fats.3,4 Nuts also contain dietary fibres, proteins, folic acid, niacin, and vitamins E and B-6. They are rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, arginine, potassium and very less amounts of sodium, unless added externally. Nuts are also rich in phytosterols (cholesterol-like molecules obtained from plants) and antioxidants. Thus, nutritional facts render nuts to be a perfect fit in our regular diet.3
What is the relationship between nuts and obesity?
Weight gain is a gradual process and maintaining a stable weight is even more greater challenge.5 Long-term overweight ultimately results in obesity.5 Obesity is a global problem and a major risk factor in heart diseases.4 Diet and lifestyle choices are the essential aspects of controlling weight gain.5 Including nuts in the diet can help maintain the body mass index (BMI).4 Many scientific studies and trials have proven the following facts regarding the consumption of nuts:2,3,4
- There was no change in weight in the well-controlled trials in which people consumed nuts. In fact, increased daily consumption of nuts was associated with a lower risk of developing obesity.
- The substitution of nuts instead of snacks, processed meat, red meat and desserts was associated with less weight gain.
- People on a nut-rich diet excrete more amounts of fats in stools, thereby avoiding fat accumulation in the body.
How do nuts prevent obesity?
Various research works have proposed several mechanisms to demonstrate the fact that as a regular dietary item, nuts can help in maintaining a healthy weight and prevent obesity.3 Some possible mechanisms are provided as follows:3,5
- Nuts are very rich in proteins; therefore, they seem to provide a feeling of completeness and suppress hunger.
- The high-fibre content in nuts also leads to the feeling of fullness of stomach.
- The viscous fibres in some nuts delay gastric emptying time and there by suppress hunger for a long time.
- Nuts are rich in fats; however, this fat is unsaturated. Studies have shown that it is readily oxidized than the saturated fats, further resulting in less accumulation of fat.
- The fibres, proteins and saturated fats also cause overall diet-induced thermogenesis, thereby maintaining the body weight.
- There is an increased loss of fats through stools.
The inclusion of nuts in the regular diet can be a healthy choice that helps you to maintain body weight and prevent being overweight or obese. Several studies and trials have proven that there is an inverse relationship between the consumption of nuts and the risk of weight gain.2
Although eating nuts was previously considered as a reason for weight gain due to the energy-rich nature of the nuts,1,5 studies have shown that the long-term and regular consumption of nuts instead of other unhealthy foods is responsible for less weight gain and keeping the weight stable.5
Maintaining your weight is in your hands. Make a healthier choice of nuts over unhealthy food items and prevent obesity. We hope that this article aids you in knowing the nutrition facts of nuts and their effect on obesity.
Eat nuts, stay healthy and keep obesity away!
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Obesity prevention source. Food and Diet [Internet]. [cited 2019 Dec 4]. Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/diet-and-weight/.
- Liu X, Li Y, Guasch-Ferre M, Willett WC, Drouin-Chartier J-P, et al. Changes in nut consumption influence long-term weight change in US men and women. BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. 2019;1-10. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2019-000034.
- Bes-Rastrollo M, Wedick NM, Martinez-Gonzalez MA, Li TY, Sampson L, Hu FB. Prospective study of nut consumption, long-term weight change, and obesity risk in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;89(6):1913-1919.
- Sabaté J. Nut consumption and body weight. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):647S-650S. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/78.3.647S.
- Jackson CL, Hu FB. Long-term associations of nut consumption with body weight and obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;100 Suppl 1:408S-411S.