The best weight loss diet, weight loss tips and slimming products
The best weight loss diet, weight loss tips and slimming products

Nuts And Weight Loss

nuts for weight loss

Nuts are a popular and healthy snack, but many people worry about eating them when trying to lose weight because they have a high calorie count. Fear not. Eating nuts can actually HELP you lose weight. Nuts are an excellent source of protein and fibre (which fill you up) and of healthy monounsaturated fats which help to suppress appetite and hunger pangs. Nuts also contain antioxidant polyphenols which can boost your metabolism and switch on fat burning.

The best nuts to eat for weight loss

Research shows that the best nuts to eat to help weight loss are Almonds and Macadamia nuts. These nuts provide good amounts of healthy monounsaturated fat which help to lower ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol, raise ‘good’ HDL-cholesterol, reduce abnormal blood clotting and improve the ability of blood vessels to dilate, as well as suppressing appetite and aiding weight loss.

A long-term US study involving 14,386 adults found, for example, that those who regularly ate at least ¼ ounce of tree nuts per day (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts/hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, or walnuts) had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and blood pressure than those who ate less than ¼ ounce nuts per day.

Macadamia nuts and weight loss

Macadamia nuts have a unique taste and crunch which hide a delicious weight loss secret – every 100g of macadamia nuts contain 74g oils of which most (81%) are in the form of beneficial monounsaturated fats – one of the highest levels found in any food. The rest of the nut is mostly composed of protein (9%) and fibre (6.5%) – all of which are a slimmer’s best friend.

Although macadamia nuts provide 718 kilocalories per 100g, their energy value is offset by the beneficial effects of their monounsaturated fats, protein and fibre. Clinical trials show that people who ate a handful of macadamia nuts each day actually lost weight – despite an increase in the total amount of fat consumed – because they weren’t hunger and ate fewer snacks and small meals as a result. These effects were seen when eating as few as 20 grams of macadamias a day.

Almonds and weight loss

Although almonds are relatively high in calories, providing around 612 kcals per 100g, you don’t need to avoid them if you want to lose weight as their consumption does not appear to cause a net gain in body weight for several reasons. Almonds have an unusually high protein content, of just over 20%, and a high fibre content (7.4%) so they fill you up and curb your appetite. Almond oil also consists of at around 67% monounsaturated fat which helps to curb appetite and hunger.

Another weight loss benefit for almonds is that they reduce the rise in blood glucose levels that occur after a meal, which also reduces hunger and the desire to eat. Almonds also contain at least 31 antioxidant polyphenols, including the SIRT activators (catechins, pterostilbene, kaempferol and quercetin) which boost your metabolic rate and switch on fat burning. Many of these beneficial polyphenols are in the thin green or brown skin which surrounds the almond seed, which contains 10 times more polyphenols than the white flesh. Roasting does not deplete the polyphenol content and, because of the loss of water, means that roasted almonds contain around twice as many polyphenols as raw almonds – as long as you eat them with their skins on!

Several studies show that people who eat almonds regularly tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI), a lower waist circumference and less visceral fat, than those who eat the least.

In one study, people who added nuts such as almonds to a Mediterranean style diet had a waist circumference that was, on average, 5cm less after one year, than those who did not eat nuts! In another study, involving 100 overweight and obese women, those who added 50g of almonds per day to their weight reduction program achieved significantly greater weight loss, and reductions in BMI, waist circumference and waist to hip circumference ratio (as well improvements in cholesterol, triglyceride, fasting blood sugar and diastolic blood pressure measurements) than those not adding almonds to their diet.

In a 24-week study involving 65 people who followed a formula-based very low-calorie diet, those given a formula enriched with 84 g almonds per day did significantly better than those given a formula enriched with complex carbohydrates. The group supplemented with almonds lost 18% body weight (compared with 11% in those using the complex carbohydrate formula) a 14% reduction in waist circumference (versus 9%), a 30% reduction in body fat mass (versus 20%) and an 11% reduction in systolic blood pressure (versus no change).

Overall, there was a 62% greater reduction in weight/BMI, a 50% greater reduction in waist circumference and a 56% greater reduction in fat mass in those using the almond-enriched low-calorie diet, compared with those enriched with carbohydrate – a pretty impressive result!

Another study showed that overweight and obese people who were following a calorie restricted diet showed better memory and attention performance in the afternoon if they had an almond enriched high-fat lunch than those who instead had a high-carbohydrate lunch.

How to add nuts to a weight loss diet

  • Have a handful of unsalted nuts as a healthy snack
  • Add a handful of nuts to breakfast cereal or make a nut muesli by mixing rolled oats, bran, seeds, dried fruit, macadamias and almonds.
  • Add nuts to salads or toss through vegetables or fried rice.
  • Use chopped almonds or macadamias in stir fries or Asian style dishes.
  • Use chopped almonds or macadamias in crumbles and toppings or add to yoghurt with chopped fruit.

How to make almond nut milk

Use almond milk to make up your weight loss protein shake formulas for an additional weight loss boost.

  • Simply soak 45g raw almonds (skins on) in 200ml mineral water over night.
  • Place all the soaked almonds and the water in a blender and pulse until the nuts are broken up.
  • Then, blend at high-speed for at least a minute until the nuts are completely liquidised.
  • Strain the liquid through a fine muslin cloth, using a spoon or spatula to help the milk strain through.
  • Cover and refrigerate.

This home-made almond milk will keep in a refrigerator for two days.

Try adding vanilla extract, cinnamon or cocoa powder for a change of flavour.

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