Folks dieting to drop pounds should consider eating a fistful of nuts here and there, a new review suggests.

People who ate 1.5 to 3 ounces of almonds, peanuts, pistachios or walnuts daily as part of a calorie-cutting diet wound up losing more weight than those on the same diet without nuts, researchers said.

In fact, people on “nut-enriched” diets lost an extra 3 to 16 pounds compared to folks on nut-free diets, results show.

“People often avoid nuts when trying to lose weight because they think that the energy and fat content in nuts can contribute to weight gain,” said senior researcher Alison Coates, dean of research in allied health and human performance with the University of South Australia.

Instead, it looks like nuts might help curb hunger more effectively.

“Nuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, plant protein and dietary fiber, all of which play a role in promoting satiety and reducing excess calorie consumption,” Coates said in a university news release. “Nuts are associated with improved cardiovascular and metabolic health, better gut health and enhanced cognitive performance.”

For the review, researchers analyzed the findings of seven randomized controlled trials involving diets that cut food intake between 240 and 1,000 calories a day. The studies lasted from a month to a year, and involved 676 people who were overweight or obese.

None of the studies showed that nuts hampered weight loss, researchers found, and four of the studies found that nuts actually caused folks to drop even more weight.

The review, which was not funded by the nut industry, was published recently in the journal Nutrition Research Reviews.

“Nuts are an important part of many people’s diets because they provide a taste and texture you can’t find in other food groups, while also being a healthy, on-the-go snack,” said study co-author Sharaya Carter, an adjunct research fellow with the University of South Australia.

“For people who enjoy eating nuts, knowing that they can help meet weight-loss goals while also improving your overall health is a huge plus,” Carter said. “It’s also great for health professionals who can be confident in recommending nuts, in the context of a healthy diet, without concerns of an adverse effect on weight.”

More information

Harvard Medical School has more on nuts and seeds.

SOURCE: University of South Australia, news release, June 17, 2024

Source: HealthDay

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