Nuts are rich in healthy fat and calories, so you may not think of them as tools for weight control. But nuts may actually help in the battle of the bulge, suggests a Harvard study published online Sept. 23, 2019, by BMJ Nutrition, Prevention, and Health. Researchers analyzed questionnaire responses on dietary habits, physical activity, and weight changes from about 145,000 middle-aged and older men and women. People who went from never eating nuts to eating a daily average of at least half a serving (about half a handful) were 16% less likely to become obese over a four-year period compared with people who didn't eat nuts at all. Substituting a half serving of nuts per day for red meat, processed meat, French fries, desserts, or potato chips was also associated with less weight gain. "Nuts have protein and fiber which help us feel full longer and offset cravings for junk food. Although nuts are high in calories, up to 20% of calories from nut consumption will be excreted from our body," says Dr. Xiaoran Liu, one of the study authors and a research associate with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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