Nuts aren’t exactly what you think of as a weight loss food.
Contrary to popular thought, nuts are full of healthy fats and actually work in many different ways to help you maintain a healthy weight and help you live longer.
According to the Harvard Gazette, people who eat a daily handful of nuts were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period than those who didn’t consume nuts.
The Harvard Gazette also reported that several previous studies had found an association between increasing nut consumption and a lower risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, gallstones, and diverticulitis.
Additionally, higher nut consumption has been linked to reduced cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, inflammation, adiposity, and insulin resistance.
How Pecans Promote Weight Loss
One of country’s leading nutrition scientists, Richard Mattes of Purdue University, remarks that people are less able to detect calories in soda and other drinks than in solid foods, making them more prone to over-consume these products. On the other hand, eating nuts are more likely to leave you satisfied.
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“They’re high in protein, and protein is satiating,” he said. “They’re high in fiber, and fiber is satiating. They’re rich in unsaturated fats, and there is some literature that suggests that has satiety value. They’re crunchy, and that would suggest just the mechanical aspect of chewing generates a satiety signal.” (source)
Snacking on nuts makes it likely that you will eat less later in the same day, meaning that despite the extra fat, nuts can actually help reduce your calorie intake.
They are also said to help metabolize fat cells to be used by the body as energy (1).
A snack size serving of pecans supplies you with lots of important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C & A, calcium, potassium and B-complex vitamins. However, it’s the zinc and magnesium in pecans that really help with weight loss (2).
How Magnesium Comes Into Play
In a recent study, participants with with the highest intake of magnesium had 37% lower risk of incident metabolic impairment (3).
This is because higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism. When glucose isn’t metabolized properly or is consumed in too high doses, it begins to be stored as fat.
Obesity in men can be sign of hormone imbalance. In a study, hormone-deficient men were given testosterone supplements in a similar way to HRT for older women. Men lost an average of 16kg over five years when testosterone levels were increased back to normal (4).
This because testosterone helps metabolize fat and boosts the body’s production of muscle tissue (5).
And if that’s not enough, nuts contain high amounts of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, commonly called PUFAs. People who consume high levels of PUFAs tend to have lower body weight, studies show.
In fact, The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition published a review of 31 studies that concluded that people who ate nuts regularly had slimmer waists and had an easier time keeping weight off than their nut-abstaining counterparts (6).
Pecans are also high in zinc, which plays a key role in the enzymatic activity involved in the metabolism of lipids (fats) and carbohydrates. It also helps to control insulin sensitivity and resistance as well as regulate appetite (7).
How Many Pecan Halves Should I Eat?
So instead of reaching for chips or chocolate, snack on some nuts. It’s just one of many lifestyle changes (along with a healthy diet and exercise) that will help you lose excess weight and keep it off!