Nuts sometimes have a bad image in the diet world: they contain a lot of fat and have a high energy density, which means that even a small portion provides a lot of calories . But a growing body of research highlighting the potential weight loss benefits of healthy nuts like pistachios, almonds and cashews has helped change our perspective.
Nuts can be part of a weight control plan and even help with weight loss. They are a source of plant-based protein, healthy fats and fiber that keep you full for a long time and aid in digestion. In addition, research shows that the body may not actually absorb all the calories from nuts. A study published August 2012 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that up to 20 percent of calories are not digested.
In addition, a January 2020 study in “Appetite” found that eating pistachios does not affect body weight. The trial participants (30 healthy pre-menopausal women) consumed 44 g of pistachios (250 kcal) in the morning in addition to their usual diet for a period of 12 weeks. They were allowed to eat whatever they wanted for the rest of the day. Those who ate pistachios daily as a morning snack felt fuller longer and ate fewer carbohydrates. The intake of unsaturated fatty acids, linoleic acid, thiamine, pyridoxine, copper, manganese and zinc was also significantly higher than in the control group.
So nuts really can help you lose weight! However, there are a few potential missteps that can thwart you from reaching your goals. Here are 5 mistakes you should avoid if you want to lose weight in a healthy way.
1. You think the fat in nuts makes you fat.
Avoiding high-fat foods like olive oil, avocados and nuts is an antiquated way of thinking.
Dietary fats are an important source of energy and allow the body to function smoothly. Certain healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, provide additional benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. That’s why high-fat foods are an integral part of many modern diets .
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that 20 to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from fat. So if you eat about 2000 calories a day, that equates to 45 to 77 grams of fat a day. For comparison, one serving of walnuts contains 19 grams of fat, which is ideal according to this recommendation.
2. you do not know how many nuts per day are healthy.
A handful of nuts equals about 25-30 grams and has about 160 to 200 calories. According to the recommendations for healthy eating, this is the optimal portion per day for an adult.
With nuts, it is difficult to estimate servings, mainly because the number of nuts per serving varies greatly from nut to nut. Since pistachios have a shell, the serving size appears larger. To avoid stuffing yourself with nuts, don’t eat them right out of the bag, but put just the amount you need in a small bowl.
Examples of a healthy serving of nuts per day:
6-8 Brazil nuts
16-18 cashew nuts
10-12 Macadamia nuts
15-18 Pecan halves
8-11 Walnut halves
150-157 pine nuts
3. you see nuts only as a snack
If you think of nuts only as a snack, you’re not making enough use of their potential. Nuts are a delicious snack in themselves, but cooking with nuts adds crunch along with an extra dose of healthy nutrients to your dishes.
Use soaked cashews for a plant-based cheese or chopped pistachios as a crust for baked salmon. It’s even easier to add walnuts as a topping to your salads or stir cashews into a chicken stir fry. These are just a few of the ways to incorporate nuts into your diet.
4.You eat heavily spiced or salted nuts.
Nuts are about 90 percent fat. So there’s no reason to add more fat by roasting nuts in fat. Instead, eat raw or dry-roasted nuts. If the package says only “roasted,” check the ingredient list to see if fat has been added.
You can also find many flavored varieties on the market, such as honey-roasted or glazed. These may contain a high amount of added sugar. Even though roasted or raw nuts are the healthiest, you may indulge in candied nuts from time to time. However, you should look for options with minimal added sugar – only one to two grams per 100 grams.
Other flavors, such as chili or BBQ, may contain high levels of salt and other additives. If you eat salted nuts, be mindful of the salt content as well, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure . It is best to reach for unsalted or only lightly salted nuts. Again, always check the ingredient list to see if salt has been added.
5. you eat nut butters with added sugar.
Almond butter and cashew butter are very tasty and have a better fatty acid profile compared to peanut butter . They are also an easy way to get your daily serving of nuts.
However, some nut butter brands contain added sugar. You’ll find this more common in vanilla or cinnamon flavored nut butters, but even plain nut butters often have added sugar. You should also watch out for added fats and oils in nut spreads. As with nuts roasted in oil, there’s no reason to add oil to foods that are already rich in healthy fats.
To avoid added sugars, always read the ingredient list when buying nut butters.