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How Eating Nuts Can Help You Lose Weight

How Eating Nuts Can Help You Lose Weight

Nuts are extremely healthy, as they’re packed full of nutrients and antioxidants (1).

In fact, they have been linked to a wide range of health benefits, including protection against heart disease and diabetes (2).

However, they’re also high in fat and calories, causing many people to avoid nuts out of fear that they are fattening.

This article looks at the evidence to determine whether nuts are weight loss friendly or fattening.

Bowl of Nuts and Measuring Tape

Nuts Are High in Fat And Calories

Nuts are high in calories.

This is because a large part of them is fat, which is a concentrated source of energy. One gram of fat contains 9 calories, while one gram of carbs or protein contains just 4 calories.

Nuts contain mostly unsaturated fat. This type of fat is associated with protection against many different diseases, such as heart disease (3).

The calorie and fat contents per one-ounce (28-gram) serving of some commonly eaten nuts are shown below:

  • Walnuts: 183 calories and 18 grams of fat (4)
  • Brazil nuts: 184 calories and 19 grams of fat (5)
  • Almonds: 161 calories and 14 grams of fat (6)
  • Pistachios: 156 calories and 12 grams of fat (7)
  • Cashews: 155 calories and 12 grams fat (8)

Because they are high in fat and calories, many people assume that adding nuts to their diet will lead to weight gain.

However, as discussed below, scientific studies do not support this.

Summary: Nuts are high in calories since they are high in fat, a concentrated source of energy. Even small portions are high in fat and calories.

Regularly Eating Nuts Is Not Linked to Weight Gain

Nuts on Scales

Several observational studies have found that regularly eating nuts is not associated with weight gain and may even prevent it (9, 10, 11, 12, 13).

For example, one study looked at the diets of 8,865 men and women over 28 months.

It found that those who ate two or more portions of nuts a week had a 31% lower risk of weight gain, compared to those who never or rarely ate them (10).

Also, a review of 36 studies found that regularly consuming nuts was not linked to an increase in weight, body mass index (BMI) or waist size (14).

In controlled studies where participants had to stick to a strict diet, the addition of many different types of nuts did not cause changes in body weight (15, 16).

More importantly, in studies where nuts were added to the diets of people who were able to eat as they liked, nut consumption did not lead to weight gain (17, 18).

That said, a small number of studies have reported that eating nuts was associated with an increase in body weight (19, 20).

However, any increase in weight was very small, much lower than expected and tended to be insignificant in the long term.

Summary: Studies have found that eating nuts regularly does not promote weight gain, regardless of whether people follow a strict diet or eat as they please. In some cases, they protect against weight gain.

Eating Nuts May Even Boost Weight Loss

Several large observational studies have found that more frequent nut consumption is associated with a lower body weight (12, 13, 21, 22).

It’s not clear why this is,…

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