Eating nuts may reduce obesity risk, study suggests

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In a recent study, scientists discovered a link between increased nut consumption and a lower risk of weight gain and obesity.

The researchers suggest that replacing unhealthy foods like processed meats, French fries, and potato chips with half a serving of nuts could be a practical strategy to prevent weight gain as people age.

The study analyzed information on the diet, physical activity, and weight of three different groups: 51,529 male health professionals, 121,700 nurses aged 35 to 55, and 116,686 nurses aged 24 to 44.

Over 20 years, these participants were asked every four years to state their weight and how often they had eaten a serving of nuts, including peanuts and peanut butter, in the previous year. Their weekly exercise was assessed every two years.

The findings revealed that increased consumption of any type of nut was associated with less long-term weight gain and a lower risk of becoming obese.

Increasing daily nut consumption by half a serving was linked to a lower risk of gaining 2 or more kilograms over any 4-year period.

Additionally, a daily half-serving increase in walnut consumption was associated with a 15% lower risk of obesity.

Substituting unhealthy foods for half a serving of nuts was associated with avoiding weight gain of between 0.41 and 0.70 kg in any 4-year period.

Increasing daily nut consumption from none to at least half a serving helped in avoiding 0.74 kg in weight, and was linked to a lower risk of moderate weight gain and a 16% lower risk of obesity.

Consistent nut intake of at least half a serving a day was associated with a 23% lower risk of gaining 5 or more kilograms and of becoming obese over the same timeframe.

According to the researchers, nuts’ high fiber content can help delay stomach emptying, making a person feel full for longer, and the high unsaturated fat content of nuts can increase resting energy expenditure, possibly helping to prevent weight gain.

The team suggests snacking on a handful of nuts instead of unhealthy snacks could help ward off age-related weight gain and curb the onset of obesity.

For more information about weight loss, read about how a keto diet can cause flu-like symptoms and why diet drinks may lead to more weight gain.

To learn more about nutrition, consider reading about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease and how certain antioxidants could help reduce the risk of dementia.

The study was published in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.

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