Nut consumption does not appear to lead to the expected weight gain.
Nuts are packed with nutrition, but they are also packed with calories. Why, then, as I’ve explored in previous years, don’t nuts make people fat? There have been 18 clinical trials reviewed to date on nuts and weight. After adding, in some cases, entire handfuls of nuts to people’s daily diet in 2 of the 18 studies people did actually gained a few pounds, but in 14 of other studies there was no significant weight change reported, and in 3, people actually lost weight! What? How is that even possible?
Well these were clinical trials where people are put on added nuts for just a few weeks or months, what about long-term? Maybe in the short run nuts don’t lead to weight gain, but what about after years of eating nuts? Well that’s been looked at 6 different ways, in studies lasting from one year to 8 years—the Harvard nurses health study. One found no significant change, the other 5 out of six measures found significantly less weight gain and risk of abdominal obesity.
How is it possible that 90% of studies ever done on nuts and weight gain showed at the very least no weight gain, where did the nut calories go? That's what we'll explore in the next series of videos starting tomorrow.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.
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Note: I updated the video on August 25, 2012. I am indebted to Jeff Nelson for pointing out my mischaracterization of the 2007 Natoli & McCoy review. I've not only corrected the video, but expanded it (by 8 minutes!) to cover all of the studies published in the 5 years since. The evidence is stronger than ever that the consumption of nuts does not lead to the weight gain one would expect.
How is it possible that adding all those calories to one's diet doesn't lead to weight gain? Doesn't this violate some pesky law of physical universe (the first law of thermodynamics)? That's the subject of Monday's video-of-the-day Solving the Mystery of the Missing Calories. There definitely are foods linked to weight gain, see Does Eating Obesity Cause Obesity? and Waistline Expanding Food, for example. I give a summary of obesity in the diabetes section of my full-lengthUprooting the Leading Causes of Death as well. For more insight from the Harvard Nurses Health Study see What Women Should Eat to Live Longer, Skim Milk and Acne, Harvard's Meat and Mortality Studies, and Meat Hormones & Female Infertility.
For some more context, please check out my associated blog posts: Nuts Don’t Cause Expected Weight Gain, Plant-Based Diets for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Go Nuts for Breast Cancer Prevention, and The Best Nutrition Bar
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