Nuts and peanuts make you a little slimmer
People who regularly eat peanuts and nuts are three kgs lighter than people who don't, and their waists are three centimetres slimmer. Nutritionists at the University of Otago in New Zealand write in Nutrients that although peanuts and nuts are calorie-rich, they don't make you fat.
The New Zealanders analysed data on 4721 fellow countrymen, which had been collected in the New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey. The participants had provided information on what they ate, so the researchers were able to divide them into a group that ate whole nuts and a group that did not.
"Tree nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts", the researchers wrote.
"Chestnuts, coconut and coconut products were not included in this analysis, as their nutrient profiles differ from the aforementioned nuts." The average nut eater in the study consumed 40.3 g nuts and peanuts daily.
The people who ate whole nuts were on average 2.5 kg lighter than the non nut-eaters – and their waist measurement was 3 cm smaller.
Of course peanuts and nuts are also hidden in all sorts of foods, such as peanut butter. The researchers added the consumers of these foods to the real nut lovers, forming the total nuts group. And here again, this group was also a little slimmer than the group that ate no peanuts or nuts in any form at all.
The researchers found a little more 'good' HDL cholesterol and a little less 'bad' LDL cholesterol and also less CRP (also bad) in the blood of the nut eaters. But the differences between the groups were mostly not statistically significant.
The New Zealand researchers come up with a couple of possible explanations for their findings, based on previously published studies. The first is that, comparatively speaking, the body simply does not absorb much of the energy in nuts; the second is that the unsaturated fatty acids in nuts boost calorie burning.
We, the ignorant compilers of this free webzine, have a third explanation. Nuts contain metabolites that speed up metabolism at the cellular level. Cashew nuts, for example, contain anacardic acid, a compound that works in a similar way to DNP, in test tubes at least.
"This is the first study using national data from New Zealand to examine the effects of nut consumption on risk factors for chronic disease", the researchers wrote. "In agreement with other studies conducted in the U.S., Europe and Iran, nut consumers were leaner with reduced central adiposity and had better outcomes for a variety of biochemical indices compared to non-consumers, which collectively may reduce the risk of chronic disease."
Life Sci. 2000;66(3):229-34.
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