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Archive for August 19th, 2011

My Granddaughter misses out on a healthy and delicious treat. She’s allergic to tree nuts. For those who aren’t, not only are nuts tasty and packed with nutrients, now research confirms they may help with weight loss.

Tree nuts (pistachios, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts) provide excellent sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals (carotenoids, flavonoids, phytosterols, proanthocyanidins). Although often shunned by weight-watchers because of their calorie content from fat, the type of fat in nuts contributes to a healthy diet and to cardiovascular fitness.

Nutrients in nuts may curb appetite and contribute toward a sense of fullness. The monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid, in nuts may contain an appetite suppressing compound. Additionally, protein and dietary fiber increase satiety.

In one study of over 30,000 people, a significant number lost weight when nut consumption increased to more than five servings per week compared to those who consumed less than one serving per month.

In another study of 645 subjects, those who consumed three ounces of almonds along with a moderate-fat diet with equal calories from protein and carbohydrate lost eighteen percent of body weight compared to eleven percent lost by those on a low-fat, complex carbohydrate diet. Other studies yielded similar results.

Portion control is important. What is a serving of nuts? A one-ounce serving or about one-fourth cup provides between 155 to 203 calories. Cashews have the lowest number of calories followed by pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, peanuts, pecans, and macadamias at 203 calories. Equivalents for one serving include twenty-three almonds, eighteen cashews, nineteen pecan halves, and fourteen walnut halves.

Rather than go nuts trying to lose weight, grab a handful of those nuggets in place of high-carbohydrate foods and enjoy knowing they are a user-friendly way to help control weight.

Reference: Wien, M., Sabate, J., “Tree nut consumption and weight management: A scientific review of literature.”  Weight Management Matters. 9:1; Summer 2011.

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