Increasing nut consumption by just half a serving (14 g or 0.5 oz) a day is linked to less weight gain and a lower risk of obesity, suggests a large, long term observational study, published in the online journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.
Substituting unhealthy foods, such as processed meats, French fries, and crisps (potato chips) with a half a serving of nuts may be a simple strategy to ward off the gradual weight gain that often accompanies the aging process, suggest the researchers, Medical Express reported.
On average, US adults pile on 1lb or nearly half a kilo every year. Gaining 2.5-10 kilos in weight is linked to a significantly greater risk of heart disease/stroke and diabetes.
Nuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals and fiber, but they are calorie dense, so often not thought of as good for weight control. But emerging evidence suggests that the quality of what's eaten may be as important as the quantity.
Amid modest increases in average nut consumption in the US over the past two decades, the researchers wanted to find out if these changes might affect weight control.
Researchers analyzed information on weight, diet and physical activity in three groups of people: 51,529 male health professionals, aged 40 to 75 when enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow Up Study; 121,700 nurses, aged 35 to 55 when recruited to the Nurses Health Study (NHS); and 116,686 nurses, aged 24 to 44 when enrolled in the Nurses Health Study II (NHS II).
Over more than 20 years of monitoring, participants were asked every 4 years to state their weight, and how often, over the preceding year they had eaten a serving (28 g or 1 oz) of nuts, including peanuts and peanut butter.
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