Nuts in a Weight-loss Diet

Q. I’ve read that it’s okay to include nuts in a weight-loss diet, but aren’t they high in fat and calories?

A. Nuts are relatively high in fat, though it’s mostly healthy fat, and calories. However, studies have found that eating nuts has little or no effect on body weight in children, adolescents or adults. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. Nut eaters tend to have lower BMIs (body mass index, a measurement of weight relative to height) and waist measurements compared to those who don’t eat nuts.

Researchers have come up with a few possible explanations as to why nuts, including Georgia Pecans, go against conventional wisdom about higher calorie foods contributing to weight gain. First, studies suggest that nuts have what’s called a “high satiety value,” i.e., they satisfy hunger longer. Nut eaters tend to eat less at later snacks or meals. In addition, the calories from nuts are not absorbed by the body as efficiently as from other foods, so when one eats 100 calories of nuts, he/she doesn’t necessarily absorb and use all of those 100 calories. And lastly, regular consumption of nuts may raise the number of calories bodies burn at rest, referred to as “resting energy expenditure.”

Any one of these could explain nuts’ lack of effect on body weight; taken together, it makes perfect sense to include nuts, such as Georgia Pecans, in one’s weight-loss diet plan.

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