By Matt O'Neill, MSc(Nut&Diet), APD
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You know nuts are good for your health. Now, the latest latest science shows why nuts are great for your waist line. Research reveals that nut eaters are slimmer, so how do nuts trim body fat?
Nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts have some unique properties that give them a top rating for any weight loss diet.
1. Nuts satisfy hunger
With twenty percent protein, almonds are the highest protein nut and give meat a run for its money in the protein stakes. It's this high protein content in almost all nuts combined with generous natural fibre that gives nuts their appetite suppressing powers.
By curbing hunger, a small handful snack (30g) of nuts can you eat less food later in the day, therefore helping control your overall kilojoule (energy) intake. Compared with snacks like processed breakfast bars, nuts are likely to keep you satisfied for longer.
2. Nuts have less calories absorbed
It appears that not all the calories in nuts are absorbed and stored when you eat them. A real bonus! Being a natural whole food, the fat in nuts may be physically harder to access to digest. The small amount of undigested dietary fat will pass through your digestive system rather than be absorbed and stored as body fat.
The amount of fat malabsorption has been measured at around 5-15%, which although small for just a handful of nuts, adds up to a substantial advantage over a year of regular nut consumption.
3. Nuts cost more calories to digest
Studies that have carefully measured the resting metabolic rate (rate of energy burning) of people eating nuts under controlled conditions have discovered a slight increase in calorie burning. Up to around 10% of the energy in nuts may be used to digest and absorb them. Another bonus!
Combined, these three slimming properties of nuts provide a good case for including nuts in your nutrition and fitness routine. They keep you fuller for longer, not all the calories are absorbed and some calories are lost in digestion. This explains why when nuts have been added to diets, the research shows little impact on weight management.
So, even if you are maintaining your weight, nuts should work wonders for you. Of course, I've got to be clear on portion size. You can't just add loads of nuts to your diet and you need to still watch how many calories you eat.
A daily 30g handful of your favourite nut or nut mix is a good target to start with. You may be surprised and be able to eat more.
Get the nutritional breakdown (fat, carb, protein, vitamins and minerals) of your favourite nut - Go to www.nutsforlife.com.au
Disclosure - I love nuts and I am supported for my lectures and workshops by Nuts for Life, the tree nut people. Nuts are natural and healthy and the science is sound, so no paid for comments above.
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