Nuts: Can They Help You Lose Weight?

Note: you may have to be a bit more particular as to where you get your nuts.
Photo: oddsock 

So you've probably read over and over that nuts are good wholesome whole food you should be eating.

Rather than do the whole tedious round up, I'll just let the able Jane Brody of the NY Times step in. She can sum up the ginormous 119,000 subject Nurses study findings for us on the health benefits of nuts:

"The more often nuts were consumed, the less likely participants were to die of cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease, and not because nut eaters succumbed to other diseases. Their death rate from any cause was lower during the years they were followed. (The nuts in question were pistachios, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, peanuts and walnuts.)"

(Though if you are allergic to nuts, I imagine all this "you should eat nuts!" stuff must get awfully tiresome. You must be wanting to scream "NO I F--CKING SHOULDN'T EAT NUTS OR I'LL DIE YOU MORON!!!"  dozens of times a day.  Feel free to do so now if that makes you feel any better).

But, for the rest of us, yeah: Nuts are no longer considered a "bad" fatty food that you should avoid (if you are old enough to remember those ancient times). Now nuts have somehow changed into a virtuous snack with untold health benefits.

But can they help you lose weight? For reals?

Nuts and Obesity Research

We all know nuts have a crap load of calories--160-200 for a 1 ounce serving.

Note: somehow I thought I got to eat a full quarter cup for 1 ounce, but when I weighed it I came out to 1.2 Ounces.  Damn.

Personally, I AM STRICTLY FORBIDDEN to eat nuts straight out of the container any longer.  They go into the f--cking cup, and when that cup is done....

...well, anyone who knows me knows I don't necessarily stop. But at least I know I am being lame and greedy about it.

At 170 calories per ounce, how could my beloved Cheap-Ass but Tasty Costco mixed nuts possibly make sense for weight loss?

But research suggests I can keep on scarfing them.

The latest study, out just a few weeks ago, found that nut eaters were less likely to be obese.  Another previous study on nut consumption and weight gain also found "frequent nut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of weight gain (5 kg or more)."

It may be that people who are nutty for nuts are also exercise and fitness nuts. SO many studies confuse causation and correlation, and gleefully point out that people who do something that is supposed to be good for your health tend to be healthier than those who blow off that advice.  Which proves absolutely NOTHING, because these are not the same populations.

But unlike spinach or kale-eaters, or non-smokers or High Intensity Interval Sprinters, I don't  think there is quite the same "I must make healthy virtuous choices" personality thing going on in the nut-eating population.  Nuts have long been perceived as tasty and fattening, and many of us thought for a long time we were best to save them as treats.  Just my hunch, but... I do indeed think there is something Magical about the nut thing.

Are Nut Calories Processed Differently?

Yes they are!  Which apparently I found out a couple years ago researching a post called "Calories are Sneakier Than We Thought."  (It's actually worth a read if you weren't around then; there are other calorie "bargains" besides nuts.)

In fact, there were some interesting specifics I'd forgotten, like: a USDA study headed up by Janet Novotny found that when an “average” person eats almonds she receives just 128 calories per serving rather than the 170 calories on the label.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

So screw you, mean and misleading nutrition label!

Notice how I am bypassing the whole "can you eat them roasted and lightly salted because they taste so much better that way" question?  I don't think I have any motivation to research that particular issue as I probably won't like the answer and don't plan on going raw any time soon.

There is one final, important nut-related question to answer though:

So Where Do Squirrels Hide Their Nuts in the Winter?

photo: sea turtle

Do you guys eat nuts? Do you believe they can help with weight loss?

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