Transcript: Testing the Dietary Compensation Theory
Maybe the reason why 90% of the relevant studies show no weight gain from nut consumption is that nuts are so satisfying, so satiating, so appetite-suppressing, that throughout the rest of the day, totally unconsciously, we just eat less.
So, if researchers add a handful of nuts to our daily diet, totaling 200 calories, and they were just so filling that it displaced 200 calories of something else we would have normally eaten, then that could explain how, you know, one can remain in energy balance—even though they just added a calorically dense food, like nuts, to one’s daily diet. And hey, if you felt so satisfied you unintentionally ended up eating 250 calories less each day, then that could explain why, in a few of the nut studies, people actually lost weight.
Recently, they tested walnuts. “It has been proposed, mainly on the basis of observational studies, that nuts may provide superior satiation, may lead to reduced calorie consumption,…but evidence from randomized, interventional studies is lacking.” Until now.
They double-blinded the study by disguising the walnuts in a smoothie. “The walnut-containing liquid meal contained…walnuts,…frozen mango,…frozen strawberries,…banana,…frozen berries, and…pineapple juice.” Sounds good. Whereas the placebo liquid meal contained oil, mango, strawberries, banana, berries, and juice, and “40 drops of walnut flavoring.” In fact, they made it so you literally couldn’t tell the difference, in blind taste tests. And, they were made with the exact same number of calories. So, if there was nothing special about nuts, then you should feel just as satiated either way.
But, no. After a few days on the placebo, the walnut-flavored smoothie people just felt something was missing. Everyone drank their smoothies at breakfast, and then, right before lunch, the folks that didn’t get the real nuts felt significantly less full, less satiated—even after the no-chewing and full-fat absorption.
So, you can see how if you had nuts for breakfast, you may very well unintentionally eat a smaller lunch than you otherwise would—and so, in this way, nuts could actually decrease daily caloric consumption.
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.
Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.