Weight loss: go nuts or go home

New research from the University of South Australia has shown the power of including nuts in our diets.

The research shows that including nuts in a calorie-controlled weight loss diet does not hinder weight loss, and instead may have the opposite effect.

Analysing the findings of seven randomised controlled trials that assessed weight changes and glycaemic control in energy-restrictive diets, researchers found that none of the studies produced adverse results.

Interestingly, in the studies that showed no difference in weight loss between ‘nut-enriched’ and ‘nut-free’ ER diets, the diets typically included fewer nuts.

This is good news for people looking to manage their weight, particularly with the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showing 67% of Australian adults are living with overweight or obesity.

UniSA researcher Professor Alison Coates says nuts are a nutrient-rich food that should be included in weight-loss diets.

“People often avoid nuts when trying to lose weight because they think that the energy and fat content in nuts can contribute to weight gain,” Prof Coates says.

“But in fact, nuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, plant protein and dietary fibre, all of which play a role in promoting satiety, and reducing excess calorie consumption. Nuts are associated with improved cardiovascular and metabolic health, better gut health and enhanced cognitive performance.

“Despite this, most Australians do not eat enough nuts, and 60% report eating none at all.

“If weight gain was a concern discouraging people from eating nuts – rest assured that this is not the case. Nuts do not cause weight gain. Furthermore, they do not adversely affect weight loss, rather they appear to assist it.”