The gold standard review – a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of prospective cohorts and randomised controlled trials – examined research from 92 published studies involving more than half a million participants, including Australian research.
The evidence was then assessed using GRADE – an internationally-recognised research ranking system.
The Canadian and Spanish research teams found strong evidence that eating nuts does not cause weight gain, a higher BMI or increased body fat.
In fact, people who ate the most nuts, compared to those who ate the least, had a:
• 28% lower risk of having an unhealthy waist size (80cm or above for women and 94cm for men),
• 5% reduced risk of weight gain of more than 5kgs, and
• 7% reduced rate of obesity.
Low kilojoule weight loss diets that include nuts were also found to be more effective, than those that cut out nuts.
The study, published in the medical journal Obesity Reviews in September, is one of the most comprehensive reviews of nuts and weight, and the first to grade the scientific evidence.
The researchers concluded when it came to dietary guidelines and health professional advice, nuts could be recommended for their heart health benefits without any concern regarding impact on weight.
Nuts For Life Accredited Practising Dietitian Belinda Neville said the robust evidence was vital to help bust myths about nuts and weight.
“Just 2% of Australians eat the recommended 30g serve of nuts a day and for a lot of people it’s fear of weight gain that is stopping them,” said Ms Neville. (2)
“They are missing out on a huge range of health benefits linked with eating a handful of nuts a day, including living a longer and healthier life.”
As well as weight benefits, regularly eating at least 30g of nuts a day has been associated with a 22% reduced risk of pre-mature death, 29% reduced risk of coronary heart disease and 21% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), a 13% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes and 15% reduced risk of developing cancer. (3,4)
Source: Nuts for Life
1. Nishi S et al. Are fatty nuts a weighty concern? A systematic review and meta-analysis and dose–response meta-regression of prospective cohorts and randomized controlled trials. Obesity Reviews. September 2021. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.13330
2. Nikodijevic C. et al. Nut consumption in a representative survey of Australians: a secondary analysis of the 2011–2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey. Public Health Nutrition. March 2020 DOI: 10.1017/S1368980019004117
3. Aune, D., et al., Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all- cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMC Med, 2016. 14(1): p. 207.
4. Afshin, A., et al., Consumption of nuts and legumes and risk of incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr, 2014. 100(1): p. 278-88.
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