Losing weight and keeping it off takes hard work, persistence, and dedication, but modern science continues to make discoveries that can be used to make weight loss and maintenance easier and more effective. While some people seem to have no problem losing weight, others find it tough to stay at a healthy weight. The good news - recent research from the San Diego School of medicine and another study that was published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism have found that consuming a handful of walnuts each day not only improves health, but it also aids in weight loss and maintenance.
It sounds great! Eat a snack of walnuts every day and lose weight. But will it really work or is it another weight loss claim that’s just too good to be true? Here’s a look at the science that backs up eating walnuts to take off those extra pounds.
Walnuts Contain Polyunsaturated Fats
Most nuts are packed with monounsaturated fats (read healthy fats), but walnuts stand out from the other nuts because they contain polyunsaturated fats. While both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are better for you than the saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats have some specific benefits. Studies show that consuming polyunsaturated fats can reduce the risk of cardiac death and the risk of heart disease. It also provides important Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, key for heart health and lowering cholesterol levels. These fats also active genes in your body that can improve insulin metabolism and reduce fat storage, which makes them an ideal snack for people trying to lose weight.
The Effect of Walnuts on Your Brain
Not only do walnuts help reduce fast storage to aid in weight loss, they actually affect your brain to reduce appetite according to new studies presented by the New York Times. Researchers fed patients smoothies containing walnuts for five days and then did MRI brain exams on patients as they looked at pictures of high-fat and low-fat foods, as well as neutral pictures of trees and rocks. When participants who drank the walnut smoothies saw the high-fat foods, the insula, part of the brain that’s responsible for impulse control and appetite, saw increased activities. If you have a tough time sticking to your diet and avoiding favorite high-fat, high-calories foods, walnuts may help increase your self-control and reduce appetite, making it easier for you to stick to healthy eating and lose weight.
Walnuts Keep You Feeling Full
Eating walnuts can also keep you feeling full longer, keeping you from reaching for unhealthy snacks that sabotage your weight loss efforts. It’s those healthy polyunsaturated fats found in walnuts that make you feel full. Just a handful for a snack is enough to make you feel full so you don’t keep snacking.
Portion Control is Still Key
While science backs up using walnuts as a weight loss aid, remember that portion control is still key. Walnuts offer many benefits when consumed in moderation, but studies show that the best results come when you eat about a handful and a half each day. Since they are high in calories, you don’t want to overdo it on the walnuts. It’s easy to end up with “eating amnesia” when you eat walnuts, simply snacking away without a lot of thought, which can result in you consuming far too many calories. Stick with the recommended serving size daily if you want to enjoy the weight loss benefits of walnuts. Easily prevent mindless eating by portioning out nuts into small snack bags that you can quickly grab each day.
Walnuts are Only Part of a Good Weight Loss Plan
It’s important to avoid thinking of walnuts as a “magic” weight loss food that does all the work for you. Sure, studies show that walnuts can aid in weight loss, but they’re only one part of a good weight loss plan. You can’t just add a handful of walnuts to an unhealthy diet and expect to see weight loss results. It’s still important to make sure you’re burning more calories than you take in, which means you need to combine a healthy diet with a good workout plan.
Good nutrition is key, and in addition to that handful of walnuts, you may want to consume a good nutrition shake like Fit Shakes in place of one meal that gives you the fiber, protein, and essential nutrients your body needs to support weight loss. Detoxifying your body and boosting your health with Fit Tea may also support your weight loss efforts, since it’s packed with EGCG and antioxidants.
When you combine other weight loss aids, a healthy diet, and regular exercise together with that handful of walnuts each day, you will begin seeing results. So while walnuts aren’t a weight loss “magic bullet,” they do offer some extra weight loss support to maximize your hard work as you work towards your weight loss goals.