Eating nuts can help stave off obesity

  • Nut consumers demonstrate lower BMI and waist circumference
  • ‘Tree nuts should be an integral part of a healthy diet,’ says researcher Dr O’Neil

By Sadie Whitelocks

PUBLISHED: 06:17 EST, 13 April 2012 | UPDATED: 06:19 EST, 13 April 2012

Dieters often dismiss them because of their high fat content, but research suggests that snacking on nuts can help keep you slim.

A study found that those who consumed varieties such as almonds, cashews and pistachios demonstrated a lower body weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference compared to non-consumers.

They were also at lower risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Experts are now recommending a daily intake of 1.5 ounces, or three tablespoons of nuts as part of a healthy diet.

Lead researcher Carol O’Neil, from Louisiana State University, said: ‘One of the more interesting findings was the fact that tree nut consumers had lower body weight, as well as lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference compared to non-consumers.

‘The mean weight, BMI, and waist circumference were 4.19 pounds, 0.9kg/m2 and 0.83 inches lower in consumers than non-consumers, respectively.’

In the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers compared risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome of nut consumers versus those who did not consume nuts.

They used data from 13,292 men and women participating in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES).

Nut consumers were defined as those who ate more than one quarter of an ounce a day.

Tree nut – almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts – consumption specifically, was associated with higher levels of good cholesterol and lower risk of chronic diseases including heart disease.

In addition, it was also linked to a lower prevalence of four risk factors for metabolic syndrome: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and low good cholesterol levels.

Dr O’Neil adds: ‘Tree nuts should be an integral part of a healthy diet and encouraged by health professionals—especially registered dietitians.’

Maureen Ternus, executive director of the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (INC NREF), also congratulated the recent data.

She said: ‘In light of these new data and the fact that the FDA has issued a qualified health claim for nuts and heart disease with a recommended intake of 1.5 ounces of nuts per day, we need to educate people about the importance of including tree nuts in the diet.’
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Posted on April 14, 2012, in Health / Medicine, Science / Technology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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