Nuts are high in fat, but still healthy. Regular consumption can reduce major risk factors for metabolic syndrome and there is no reason to fear possible weight gain.
A new study involving experts from Vanderbilt University in the US examined how nut snacks affect the risk of metabolic syndrome compared to other carbohydrate-containing snacks. The results can be read in the English-language specialist journal “Nutrients”.
Link between nuts and weight gain
Although it has been proven that daily consumption of nuts (including pistachios) can help prevent various health problems for which obesity is a risk factor, including diabetes and heart disease, many people are convinced that consumption leads to weight gain, explains Das Team.
This myth means that many people forego an important component of a healthy diet, which is why it is important to clarify the question scientifically.
Risk factors for metabolic syndrome
The study examined a total of 84 participants between the ages of 22 and 36 who had at least one risk factor for metabolic syndrome. These risk factors included, for example, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist or high cholesterol levels.
Participants were instructed to consume either a snack of mixed, unsalted tree nuts (including pistachios) or high-carbohydrate snacks (e.g., unsalted pretzels) twice a day. Otherwise, participants should not make any changes to their lifestyle or diet.
Reduced risk of metabolic syndrome
The team found that the female participants achieved a 67 percent reduction in the risk of metabolic syndrome by eating nuts – without any other changes to their diet or lifestyle. In men, the risk was reduced by 42 percent by consuming nuts.
It also turned out that the participants experienced no change in their energy intake or body weight as a result of nut consumption during the 16-week study period, the researchers report.
Slimmer stomach thanks to nuts
In addition, according to the experts, the results indicate that women can achieve a reduction in their waist circumference (belly fat) by consuming mixed nuts, which is an important risk factor for metabolic syndrome, diabetes and various heart diseases.
In contrast, consumption of mixed tree nuts in male participants led to a reduction in insulin levels in the blood, also an important risk factor for metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease, the researchers report.
The study also noted that participants who ate nuts were able to use them more efficiently to generate energy compared to snacks made from carbohydrates. According to the researchers, this could explain why participants did not gain weight or body fat because of the nuts.
Nuts are the perfect snack
“This carefully designed and well-controlled study shows that consumption of tree nuts, such as: B. pistachios, do not have to lead to weight gain and can be an important part of your own health care in 2024,” says study author Dr. Heidi J. Silver in a press release.
Nuts and pistachios have a healthy fat profile and can effectively contribute to improving the risk profile for metabolic syndrome, emphasize the researchers. They also contain a lot of protein and other healthy ingredients, making nuts a perfect snack between meals. (as)