It can be hard to find the right snack to complement your weight loss plan. The wrong one can throw your day out of whack with too many calories or simply not be enough to satisfy your hunger. While nuts are a popular snack, some diets warn to not go near them due to their high calorie content. But this study seems to prove they actually may be just what you need to maintain your weight loss.
Researchers at UCLA sought to find out whether nuts could be considered a helpful snack when trying to lose weight. In a study on 95 overweight men and women, the team gave a group tree nuts to snack on while another got pretzels. They consumed 1.5 ounces of either nuts or pretzels. The participants were already on a weight loss plan that had them eating 500 less than their resting metabolic rate.
The groups each snacked on their respective treat during the 24-week plan and results showed significant weight loss by both. But the study also showed that those who snacked on tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts) reported feeling more satiated. And a key result showed that group was able to maintain their weight loss better.
“Tree nuts are a great source of protein, healthy fats and fiber,” said lead researcher, Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD. “This makes them so satiating and may be a major reason why we saw less weight gain in the tree nut group during weight maintenance, and a significantly lower dropout rate compared to the pretzel group.”
That also means the study found that tree nuts didn’t actively harm the weight loss diet. Instead, “including nuts in a weight loss intervention does not hinder and may support weight loss,” the study results state.
And in more good news, the study also found that the group who snacked on tree nuts had a lower heart rate. According to the results, that indicates that there may be heart health benefits of consuming tree nuts.
In all, the study proves that you don’t always have to forgo nuts when trying to lose weight. Incorporate these into your diet by snacking on about quarter cup of nuts. The amount should just fit into the palm of your hand. And if you’re on the right plan, this helping of tree nuts might actually help you reach your goal!