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Does Eating Nuts Make You Fat?

 

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I would like to know if eating nuts make you fat. I have been trying to lose weight for the past 2 months, and I often snack on nuts (almonds, pecans and pistachios) rather than munching on chips and chocolate cookies. Will this sabotage my weight loss goals since nuts have a high calorie and fat content? – Emilia, Minnesota.

 

Does Eating Nuts Make You Fat?

 

Hi Emilia,

It's great that you nibble on nuts instead of unhealthy snacks, but make sure you watch your portion sizes – nuts are super easy to overeat and pack on extra pounds.

You're right about their high caloric and fat values, but the good news is nuts are a very nutritious food that's extremely beneficial for your overall health. Most nuts, including walnuts, cashew nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts are chock-full of many Vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium. Nuts are generally cholesterol-free, and also contain phytochemicals such as phytoestrogens (isoflavones) and phenolic compounds, ellagic acid and flavonoids.

Numerous studies have shown that nuts can protect against heart disease and even type 2 diabetes. One study found that people who ate a small handful of nuts 5 times per week could cut their heart disease risk in half.

In addition, certain types of nuts such as almonds, pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts can help lower LDL "bad" cholesterol levels and help keep blood vessels healthy. This could be due to their high content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (good fats), antioxidants, Vitamins and minerals, folate and arginine.

Nuts are also a rich source of protein, thus making them a good alternative to meat. So if you're eating nuts, you might want to reduce your total daily protein intake from other food sources such as meat or fish to avoid protein overload. Excessive protein consumption is not only counterproductive to your weight loss goals, but can also increase your risk of gout, liver and kidney problems.

If you're not a huge fan of oily fish, then you may want to consume walnuts on a regular basis because they're particularly high in the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid ALA, or alpha linolenic acid.

 

 

Are Nuts Fattening?

Many dieters avoid nuts because they are high in fat, and hence mistakenly assume that eating nuts will make them gain weight. However, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that nuts won't contribute to weight gain, if consumed in limited amounts as part of a healthy well balanced diet.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, it was found that eating almonds may help you lose weight and keep the weight off. The study analyzed whether overweight participants eating 84 grams of almonds a day on a low calorie diet or a diet high in complex carbs would be more effective in weight loss. After 6 months, it was concluded that the almond-enriched diet resulted in greater weight loss and fat loss. The researchers also found that those on the almond diet were able to maintain their weight loss efforts better than the non-almond group.

Furthermore, nuts have also been shown to have a very positive effect on satiety because they're  high in protein, fat and fiber. That means, you'll feel hungry and satisfied after eating nuts, and therefore you're less likely to binge eat or snack between meals.

 

 

How Not to Gain Weight Eating Nuts?

Nuts are high in calories and can be rather fattening so my advice is to consume them in moderation. To prevent mindless eating, buy per-portioned packs or divide a big bag of nuts into small seal-able bags yourself. Or, take one small handful and put the entire package away.

It's also a good idea to snack on nuts in the shell such as pistachios. You’ll probably consume less since it takes time to remove the shells, and the sight of empty shells will discourage you from eating too many mindlessly.

Always choose nuts that are high in protein and low in saturated fat such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts. While cashew nuts and Brazil nuts are also rich in protein, they also come with higher saturated fat contents. Pecans and macadamia nuts have more calories as compared to other nuts, so just eat small amounts.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy the flavor, crunch and health benefits of nuts. You can sprinkle sliced almonds or chopped walnuts over soups or salads instead of croutons; top low fat yogurt with toasted mixed nuts in place of granola. Try adding pine nuts when making fettuccine pasta and pesto sauce for good nutrition; cashews taste great in a variety of Asian-style stir fry dishes.

Take note that chopped, ground and roasted nuts (especially Brazil nuts and pine nuts) tend to turn rancid more quickly than whole nuts. Make sure to store them in the freezer or refrigerator.

 

 

 

 

By Diane Hanson

 

are nuts fattening

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