Nuts! No Guarantee of Weight Loss

Nuts are getting a lot of good health press lately. “Go nuts and still lose weight,” proclaims a nutrition columnist in Live Science. The New York Times published an ode this week to the wonders of nuts as a weight-loss aid. It’s quite a turnaround for nuts, which were out of favor in the low-fat everything 80s and 90s.

Nuts have a lot going for them. They are high in fiber, protein, and unsaturated fat. They are very satisfying. Snacking on nuts makes you likely to consume fewer calories later in the day. Even though they pack a lot of calories, research has shown that their calories are not well absorbed. And a study of two large cohorts of health professionals found that more frequent consumption of nuts links to a reduced risk of death from all causes.

It helps to have smart nutrition scientists like Richard Mattes at Purdue and others documenting all these benefits. Nut producers have wisely invested in nutrition research by independent-minded scientists like Mattes.

But with this love-fest for nuts, is it possible we’re going a bit over the top? In a word, yes. There’s no definitive evidence that nuts will make you lose weight, though there’s plenty to suggest that they might prevent weight gain.

Good, healthful foods (including nuts) are just that — good healthful foods. They are not medicines or weight-loss aids. “Eat more” is a great food marketing strategy, but lousy health advice unless you’re suffering from an eating disorder or wasting syndrome.

Eat well is better advice.

Click here to read more in the New York Times, here to read more in Live Science, and here to read more in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, here to read more in Nature Reviews Endocrinology and here to read more in the New England Journal of Medicine. 

You’re All Nuts! Photograph © Mark Seton / flickr

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One Response to “Nuts! No Guarantee of Weight Loss”

  1. December 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm, Leoluca Criscione said:

    Exactly!! There is NO food or drink, which on its own can make a person FAT or THIN!!!! See the details in the book: Eating healthy and dying obese…elucidation of an apparent paradox!