Testing the Fat-Burning Theory

Testing the Fat-Burning Theory
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Finally, there’s a solution to the mystery of why nuts don’t seem to make people gain weight. It appears to be a combination of factors—including a boost to our metabolism, which results in us burning more of our own fat stores.

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Yes, when we eat nuts, we lose some fat in our feces, and have our appetite suppressed. But, studies suggest that this just accounts for about 70% of the disappeared calories in nuts. Unless all the calories are accounted for, then we still should gain weight after nut consumption, especially in the long term. But that’s not what the studies show. So, what happens to that last 30%?

Nuts appear to boost our metabolism—meaning that when we eat nuts, we burn more of our own fat to compensate. And, indeed, in this study, those on the control diet were burning about 20 grams of fat overnight within their bodies, on average. Not bad; that’s like burning off five pats of butter. But the walnut group—eating the same number of calories; the same amount of fat; same everything—burned more like 31 grams of fat a day—seven or eight pats of butter worth. Not too shabby, or, should I say, flabby.

So the hard-to-crack nut of a mystery appears to have been solved. Of all the calories you eat in nuts, about 70% of them apparently disappear through dietary compensation mechanisms; 10% are flushed away; and 20% may be lost due to increased fat burn, leaving us with no calories to pack on any pounds—just a whopping load of nutrition, and our risk of dying from heart disease cut in half.

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.

Yes, when we eat nuts, we lose some fat in our feces, and have our appetite suppressed. But, studies suggest that this just accounts for about 70% of the disappeared calories in nuts. Unless all the calories are accounted for, then we still should gain weight after nut consumption, especially in the long term. But that’s not what the studies show. So, what happens to that last 30%?

Nuts appear to boost our metabolism—meaning that when we eat nuts, we burn more of our own fat to compensate. And, indeed, in this study, those on the control diet were burning about 20 grams of fat overnight within their bodies, on average. Not bad; that’s like burning off five pats of butter. But the walnut group—eating the same number of calories; the same amount of fat; same everything—burned more like 31 grams of fat a day—seven or eight pats of butter worth. Not too shabby, or, should I say, flabby.

So the hard-to-crack nut of a mystery appears to have been solved. Of all the calories you eat in nuts, about 70% of them apparently disappear through dietary compensation mechanisms; 10% are flushed away; and 20% may be lost due to increased fat burn, leaving us with no calories to pack on any pounds—just a whopping load of nutrition, and our risk of dying from heart disease cut in half.

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.

Doctor's Note

This is the fifth of a seven-part video series on this fascinating phenomenon; in other words, why don’t nuts make us fat? I review the balance of evidence in Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence, and introduced two theories in Solving the Mystery of the Missing Calories—both of which were not well supported by a study on peanut butter I detailed in Testing the Pistachio Principle. In Testing the Dietary Compensation Theory, I described an elegant study using walnut smoothies, which explained the appetite suppression piece. So, if the mystery is now solved, what are the final two videos about? Well, here we learned that nuts may boost fat burning in the body—but how? Maybe it’s the arginine, as I explore in Fat Burning Via Arginine. Or, maybe it’s the flavonoids; see Fat Burning Via Flavonoids

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: Nuts Don’t Cause Expected Weight GainBurning Fat With Flavonoids; and The Best Nutrition Bar.

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