We all know that nuts are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are full of protein, fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants. They also comprise a generous amount of unsaturated or healthy fats. But, do they help reduce weight and burn calories? While some people are in favor of including nuts in their weight loss program, others are a bit skeptical due to the high-fat content. Let’s get down to the facts and put our doubts to rest once for all.
Here are four facts that indicate nuts can aid in shedding those extra pounds.
SEE ALSO: 5 Ways Reiki Can Enhance Your Life
Nuts are Satiating
One of the biggest challenges associated with maintaining a strict dietary routine is to eat wholesome food that makes you feel full and helps curb hunger. That’s why dietitians tend to recommend nuts for those on a diet. Even an ounce (around 28 grams) of nuts has around 160-180 calories.
However, as they are packed with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, nuts can make you feel full without adding to your waistline, unlike most deep fried and processed food products. Most carbohydrate-rich foods, on the other hand, can trigger a rise in blood-sugar level, which often results in more hunger the moment sugar level starts to drop. As a result, you end up either feeling hungry until the next meal or snacking between meals. Nuts also have a high protein and fiber content that keeps you from munching on cookies in the break room.
According to a recent study, a handful of walnuts can help reduce hunger. Regular intake of walnuts suppresses the hormones responsible for hunger while triggering the one controlling the feeling of fullness.
“These findings tell us that eating foods rich in PUFAs, like those found in walnuts, may favorably change appetite hormones so we can feel fuller for longer,” says Nutritionist Professor Jamie Cooper, who led the study at the University of Georgia.
Glycemic index (GI) is the measurement of how fast your body can absorb blood sugar. Processed foods such as candies, cookies, chips, and sweet drinks can increase your blood sugar level rapidly, putting more stress on the insulin mechanism. It is, therefore, better to avoid eating such food, particularly if you have diabetes.
According to a 2015 study led by researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, people on a diet with high glycemic load gained more weight compared to those who ate foods with low glycemic load. The study followed the dietary habits of over 120,000 people for 16 years. Most nuts have a relatively low GI because they have lesser carbohydrates, but high content of healthy fats and proteins. As they are usually consumed in their natural form, the natural oils (fat) in nuts can slow down digestion and absorption of dietary carbohydrates.
So, avoid eating sugar- or- honey-coated nuts, salted varieties or even roasted ones as all these processes can increase the GI.
Reduced Risk of Diabetes and Heart Diseases
Nuts also have the power to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease as they have a higher content of unsaturated fats and fiber. So, regular consumption of nuts may help you live longer. According to a study published in 2016, the consumption of nuts can considerably reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.
The results were astonishing. Consumption of just 20 grams of nuts per day was said to have reduced the participant’s risk of death due to coronary heart disease by 29%, cardiovascular disease by 21%, cancer (all types combined) by 15%, respiratory disease by 52%, and diabetes by 39%. The team of researchers analyzed the data collected from 29 studies, including more than 800,000 participants across different demographics.
Nuts can also accelerate your metabolic rate, resulting in an enhanced immune system and good overall health. Almonds, for example, are rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and magnesium, a mineral. Both are crucial for maintaining metabolism in top-notch order. The high fiber content in chia seeds, on the other hand, speeds up digestion. Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of selenium. They play a vital role in regulating the thyroid function and, therefore, overall metabolism. Selenium deficiency often leads to a weaker immune system.
However, eating too many Brazil nuts can lead to side effects. In fact, including a high amount of nuts in your diet or replacing a meal with them can lead to serious health problems, including weight gain. So, you need to consult a dietitian and keep a check on your intake of nuts.
Nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins, unsaturated fats, and fibers, making them an excellent choice for a healthy diet. Several new studies also indicate that regular consumption can aid weight loss and help burn calories. Hopefully, these four facts will clarify your doubts about including crunchy and tasty nuts in your diet plan. Feel free to share your experiences about incorporating nuts in your diet in the comments section below.
Latest posts by Rose Martin (see all)
- Are Nuts Any Good For Weight Loss? 4 Facts That Show They Are - September 5, 2017