Long-term associations of nut consumption with body weight and obesity

From the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.

There is some concern that the high-fat, energy-dense content of nuts may promote weight gain. Nuts, however, are rich in protein and dietary fiber, which are associated with increased satiety. They also contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytoesterols that may confer health benefits for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes delay and prevention. Therefore, it is important to determine the association between nut consumption and long-term weight change and disease risk to reach scientific consensus and to make evidence-based public health recommendations. Several cross-sectional analyses have shown an inverse association between higher nut consumption and lower body weight. In addition, several independent prospective studies found that increasing nut consumption was associated with lower weight gain over relatively long periods of time. Moreover, high consumption of nuts (especially walnuts) has been associated with lower diabetes risk. Therefore, regular consumption (approximately one handful daily) of nuts over the long term, as a replacement to less healthful foods, can be incorporated as a component of a healthy diet for the prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

© 2014 American Society for Nutrition.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jun 4;100(Supplement 1):408S-411S