Study shows snacking on nuts could help weight control

Research shows those who eat the right amount of nuts seems to have better weight control.
"When people were increasing their nut consumption by what they said was half a serving, which boils down to a tablespoon and a half of peanuts - raw peanuts - or two tablespoons of walnuts, a tree nut option, they were associated with less long-term weight gain," says Ryanne Lachman, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic. 

The study in BMJ Nutrition Prevention and Health looked at data from more than 140,000 people to see if eating nuts had any impact on their weight over time.

Researchers found when people ate more nuts, particularly walnuts and tree nuts, they had a lower risk of developing obesity. They also had a lower risk of gaining just a few pounds over time. 

Lachman says the research shows eating nut butters did not have the same protective effect against weight gain.

She says this is likely because when we eat whole nuts, they take longer to chew and this can slow us down and make us feel fuller, sooner.

An array of mixed nuts in a clear glass bowl.

"What I like about this is that it's preventative. It's something that you can add to help prevent excess weight gain or reduce the risk for developing obesity long-term. So there's lots of health benefits, but if weight is a concern, then adding nuts to your diet could be a great option."

The recommendation is two handfuls of nuts a day in their raw form. That means no added sugar or salt. 

And while the study did not show eating nuts helped people lose weight, it shows eating the right amount can help prevent us from gaining more.