Nuts could help prevent weight gain; here's how it works, study finds

Eating nuts can have a number of health benefits and those now include weight loss, according to a new report.

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recently conducted a study, published in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health journal, to explore the relationship between nut consumption and weight change.

To do so, they examined 155,000 adults, gathering information on their weight, diet and physical activity for more than 20 years. Every four years, the subjects were required to submit their weight and the amount of the nuts they ate, and every two years, they had to share their weekly exercise routine.

After analyzing the results, they found increasing nut consumption by half a serving a day was linked with a lower risk of gaining 4.4 pounds or more over a four-year period.

They also said multiplying your nut intake from none to half a serving daily was associated with keeping off 1.6 pounds within four years. It was also associated with a 16% reduced obesity risk.

Lastly, they discovered those who consistently increased their nut consumption by half a serving daily had a 23% lower chance of putting on 11 or more pounds within the same time frame.

According to the BMJ press release, the team suggested, "Snacking on a handful of nuts rather than biscuits or crisps may help to ward off the weight gain that often accompanies aging and is a relatively manageable way of helping to curb the onset of obesity."

Although the scientists noted their study was observational, they hypothesized why nuts could help with weight control."Chewing nuts takes some effort, leaving less energy for eating other things, they suggest, while the high fiber content of nuts can delay stomach emptying so making a person feel sated and full for longer," the release read.

"Nut fiber also binds well to fats in the gut, meaning that more calories are excreted. And there is some evidence that the high unsaturated fat content of nuts increases resting energy expenditure, which may also help to stave off weight gain."

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