People who increased their total nut consumption by a half-serving a day (14 grams, or about half an ounce) were 3% less likely to become obese, researchers report in The BMJ. Boosting daily walnut consumption by a similar amount was associated with a 15% lower obesity risk, while adding tree nuts like cashews and almonds was tied to an 11% lower obesity risk.
Increasing nuts in the diet may help maintain a healthy body weight in several ways, said senior study author Deirdre Tobias of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
“Their high healthy-fat and fiber content are more filling for longer compared with processed carbs and other more easily digested foods,” Tobias said by email.
“This may also benefit the overall quality of the diet by making less room for less-healthy snack foods,” Tobias added. “So, even though nuts are considered calorie-dense, their intake likely displaces other calories in the diet to improve long-term weight.”