Aside from being a healthy snack option, nuts have a range of health benefits. Present in them is fiber, protein, magnesium, vitamin E, and healthy fats as well as antioxidants. Studies have uncovered that nuts can stave off various illnesses such as heart diseases, symptoms of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, and many more.
In a research published in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, researchers found that adding a daily serving (about 28 grams, or a small handful) of nuts can help lower the risk of weight gain or becoming obese. This study involved participants who did not have any chronic diseases and were not obese. Researchers used food-frequency questionnaires every four years to determine the amount of nuts that the participants ate.
At the end of the study, results revealed that increasing daily nut consumption by half a serving was linked with a smaller risk of gaining 2 or more kilograms (kg) of weight over a 4-year period. Aside from this walnuts were also found to be especially effective at lowering one’s risk of gaining weight. Half-serving increase in walnut intake was linked with a 15% lower obesity risk.
Xiaoran Liu, Ph.D., a research associate in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston, MA, and colleagues concluded that:
“Incorporating nuts as part of a healthy dietary pattern by replacing less healthful foods may help mitigate the gradual weight gain common during adulthood and beneficially contribute to the prevention of obesity.”
Meanwhile, Lori Chong, RD, at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, says that the nuts’ fiber content is the one responsible for its weight controlling effects. Fiber increases the feeling of satiety and delays stomach emptying, thus suppressing hunger and making the person feel fuller for longer. Fiber also works by binding to fats in the gut to cause more calories to be excreted.