When it comes to including nuts as part of your regular diet, chances are you’ve been told to avoid them at some point because they can cause weight gain. However, a recent and much more thorough study says that’s not the case; in fact, they could actually be a key part of weight loss over time.
Nuts have long gotten a bad rap because of their reputation as being a “fatty” food. However, the fats found in all assortments of nuts — whether your like almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, or something else — are “good” fats that have a number of health benefits. Nuts are filled with cell-protecting antioxidants and may also prevent high cholesterol, diabetes, and inflammation.
Where does its effect on weight come in? Well, in a recent meta-analysis for Obesity Reviews, scientists from the University of Toronto looked at the results from 121 different studies and trials on the link between nuts and weight gain, which spanned over half a million participants. However, all of these studies weren’t considered “equal”; researchers used the GRADE system (which stands for Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) to decide which ones offered more valuable data. For instance, randomized, controlled trials held more influence than observational studies of subjects’ habits since they’re less reliant on self-reported data.
From those data sets, scientists found that higher-quality studies looking at nuts showed that there wasn’t a strong link between nuts and weight increases. “That’s a good indication of no harm from nuts relative to weight gain — no more than any other foods — and there may indeed be a benefit of weight loss in addition to the other widely acknowledged health benefits of nuts,” explained John Sievenpiper, lead author of the study and an associate professor of nutritional sciences and medicine at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine.
The typical nutritional serving for nuts is around one ounce, and current dietary guidelines suggest eating roughly one serving of them daily. Whether you eat a handful straight from the bag or add them to a recipe, you can feel good about what you’re putting in your body!