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I’m a huge fan of eating raw nuts for health and weight loss, but each time I recommend them, I’m confronted with folks asking me, “Won’t all the calories and fat in nuts make me gain weight?”

The answer will surprise you.

After all, in a past issue of ETR I shared the research study that found replacing carbohydrate with nuts lead to increased weight loss.

Recently, scientists from Purdue University did a thorough review of all the research studies that looked at nut intake and weight loss.

J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1741S-1745S. Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults. Mattes RD, Kris-Etherton PM, Foster GD.

Not only did they find nuts were a rich source of nutrients and cardiovascular health protection, but they found a surprising inverse association between nut intake and Body Mass Index. Other studies showed increasing nut intake did not cause weight gain.

Most studies explained this as being due to the appetite suppressing effect of nuts. After all, they contain a lot of fiber. Nuts might also have poor bioaccessibility, meaning that not all of the calories in nuts are absorbed.

So nuts are fine if you want to lose weight. Some studies even showed it was easier to stick to a diet when nuts were included. I highly recommend nuts to everyone on my fat loss programs, and it is just one of the reasons my clients get such great results.

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS