Yet another reason to be nuts about nuts. Eating a handful of walnuts per day could help you lose weight, according to recent research.
Dieting is a word that conjures up negative emotions in many if not all of us. This is because it often means self-denial. What if you could eat that you might enjoy eating it and still lose weight? Better still, it helps curbs your cravings for fattening foods?
Perhaps the most important key to successful dieting for weight loss is appetite control. Most people fail when on a diet because calorie-restriction causes hunger, which leads to episodes of binge-eating. And while natural appetite suppressants have been claimed to help, evidence that they actually work is largely anecdotal.
Now, a new study done at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston and published in the journal Diabetes, obesity and metabolism, eating a handful of walnuts daily may be an effective weapon for fat loss, or what is more popularly known as weight loss.
The researchers found that walnuts made people feel fuller longer, and activated a region of the brain that controls appetite and cravings.
For the study, ten participants classified as obese were given a daily smoothie containing 48 grams walnuts, the serving recommended by American Diabetes Association, for five days. In a separate session also for five days, they were given a similar smoothie in flavor and nutrients content, but without the walnuts. The participants were unaware of which smoothie they received when, and the order was randomized.
The participants reported feeling less hungry during the week they drank smoothies with walnuts than when they drank the placebo (the smoothie without walnuts). However, the researchers went beyond these anecdotal reports.
Participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which allowed the researchers to detect changes in the brain. They (participants) were then shown pictures desirable foods such as desserts, neutral objects such as trees, and less desirable foods such as vegetables.
The researchers found that when people looked at pictures of high-fat food, activation of the insula, a part of the brain involved in appetite and impulse control, increased among the participants who drank the walnut smoothie. This did not happen with the placebo drinkers.
“Walnuts can alter the way our brains view food and impact our appetites,” said lead researcher, Olivia M. Farr. “Our results confirm the current recommendations to include walnuts as part of a healthy diet.”
The study is a small and short one. Hopefully a larger study will be conducted sometime in the near future. All the same, I wouldn’t count on eating walnuts to help me lose weight. A sensible diet and exercise should be in the mix.
(Source: New York Times)
The Power of Walnuts
The results of the study are not that surprising, given that nuts and seeds among the healthy fats that fight fat. Healthy fats in nuts make you feel fuller longer, therefore helping to curb appetite and cravings.
Though other studies on the link between walnuts and potential weight loss benefits have been conducted, this is perhaps the only one so far to investigate the brain connection.
Walnuts are superfood that provide omega-3 fatty acids, anti-oxidants, and vitamins and minerals including copper and manganese. Among the health benefits linked to walnuts include heart health, reduced cancer risk, mood boosting properties, diabetes management, and improved bone health.