A Healthier You
Just A Handful Of Nuts May Help Keep Us From Packing On The Pounds As We Ag
(NPR) – Eating a handful of almonds, walnuts, peanuts or any type of nut on a regular basis may help prevent excessive weight gain and even lower the risk of obesity, new research suggests.
It may be that substituting healthy nuts for unhealthy snacks is a simple strategy to ward off the gradual weight gain that often accompanies aging, according to the researchers. Nuts also help us feel full longer, which might offset cravings for junk food.
Researchers looked at the diet and weight of more than 280,000 adults taking part in three long-term research studies. Over more than 20 years of monitoring, participants were asked every four years about their weight and, among other things, how often, over the preceding year, they had eaten a serving (about one ounce) of nuts.
On average, U.S. adults put on one pound of weight every year, according to researcher and epidemiologist Deirdre Tobias, a co-author of the new study, which appears in the online journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. “We wanted to know whether nuts were associated with long-term weight gain,” says Tobias, who’s with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Tobias and her colleagues hypothesized that nuts might be beneficial, given the association of nuts with a lower risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found that making nuts a regular part of one’s diet was associated with less long-term weight gain and a lower risk of obesity. The people who most consistently ate nuts gained, on average, about half a pound a year, while those who ate nuts only now and then gained, on average, about one pound each year. That may not sound like a big difference, but Tobias says, “Those half-pounds add up over time.”
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