Are you nuts about losing weight? (Pun intended). If so, we have good news. It turns out that nuts themselves might be the secret ingredient you've been looking for on your journey to a healthier, leaner you. In this article, we spoke with Kelsey Kunik, RDN, a registered dietitian at Graciously Nourished, who cracks the code on the best nuts to eat for weight loss.
When it comes to shedding pounds, it's not just about eating less. It's about eating right. Nuts are an excellent example of how the right kind of eating can lead to weight loss. According to research published in Nutrients, nuts are rich in protein and fiber—two nutrients that increase satiety to help keep you feeling full longer. They're also high in unsaturated fats, which can help decrease body fat accumulation. Additionally, the research showed that consuming nuts can also increase thermogenesis to help you burn more calories.
But are all nuts equal when it comes to weight loss? The short answer is no. While they all offer nutritional benefits, some nuts are more conducive to your weight loss journey than others. Read on to discover the six best nuts for weight loss that deserve a special spot in your pantry. And when you're done, check out the 6 'Bad' Carbs That Are Actually Good For Weight Loss.
Packed with healthy fats, fiber, and protein, walnuts are a satisfying snack that helps keep your appetite in check. The unique blend of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts sets them apart, supporting weight loss and offering a range of health benefits.
"Walnuts are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids and are associated with lower LDL-cholesterol levels when eaten regularly," says Kunik. "Research has also found that eating walnuts alters the activation of a particular part of the brain associated with restraint around high fat and high sugar foods, which could explain why eating walnuts can help with weight loss."
While technically a legume, peanuts are often grouped with nuts due to their nutritional profile. These tiny but mighty nuts are high in protein and fiber, making them excellent at curbing hunger.
"Whether you enjoy peanuts by the handful or in the form of peanut butter, this calorie and protein-rich nut can help maintain or manage your weight. Eating peanuts increases peptide YY, a hormone that reduces appetite and increases feelings of fullness, which can help you feel more satisfied, reducing the amount of calories eaten," explains Kunik.
When you're craving a satisfying crunch, almonds are the perfect go-to snack. Packed with healthy fats and protein, they provide long-lasting energy, keeping you full and satisfied. An extensive 2021 review concluded that almonds significantly lower body mass.
Kunik tells us, "Researchers have found that eating more than 42.5 grams (about 1.5 ounces) of almonds daily significantly lowered LDL cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure and that almonds significantly reduced mean body mass and fat mass compared to control diets. Almonds are also a great source of monounsaturated fats and magnesium."
The act of shelling pistachios slows down your rate of eating, helping you savor each bite and practice portion control. They're lower in calories than other nuts, making them a wise weight-loss choice.
"One small study found that eating 1.5 ounces of pistachios per day, in addition to a weight loss intervention, had weight loss results similar to those on the weight loss intervention without pistachios but also had the added benefit of reduced blood pressure and increased antioxidant concentrations," states Kunik.
The "third most consumed tree nut in the United States," cashews add a delicious twist to your weight loss journey. They're lower in fat than some other nuts, and their satisfying crunch can make them a great alternative to less healthy snacks.
"Cashews are an excellent source of magnesium, with 20 percent of your daily value found in just one ounce," says Kunik. "While magnesium is not directly related to weight loss, many Americans don't get enough of this essential mineral needed for blood sugar control and turning food into energy."
Packed with heart-healthy fats and fiber, hazelnuts can keep your hunger at bay between meals. That's because hazelnuts reduce harmful oxidative stress and inflammation while supporting weight loss. Also, they're a versatile option that goes well in various dishes, from baked goods to salads. Kunik says, "Just one ounce of hazelnuts provides 28 percent of the daily value of vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin with potent antioxidant properties to support weight loss."
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