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Reasons to eat nuts all year round

If you want to maintain a stabile weight, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer, then daily consumption of nuts is recommended, not only for Christmas, but all year round.

Nøtter

We have a tradition of eating nuts during the otherwise sugary period of Christmas. We crack them at family gatherings as something nice to do together, we eat almonds with our mulled wine, in the Christmas porridge, or as an ingredient in marzipan and the almond cake called kransekake. Photo: Colourbox.com

Nuts help us to control our weight

Nuts contain many calories and their energy content, per 100 g, can be compared to crisps and chocolate.

“Therefore, it is perhaps surprising to see that reported consumption of all types of nuts, including peanuts, is related to less weight gain”, says Mette Svendsen, senior lecturer at the Department of Nutrition.

A recent study shows that people who ate 14 grams of nuts each day had a three percent less risk of developing obesity compared to people who did not eat nuts. The data is taken from three population studies that included a total of 144,885 participants with a follow-up time of 20-24 years.

There was a reduced risk of gaining more than 2 and 5 kg in weight during the follow-up period among those who ate nuts (Liu X, et al. BMJ Nutrition 2019).  

Nuts replace unhealthy choices

“We cannot expect to lose weight by adding nuts without removing something else from our diet”, explains Svendsen.

Lektor
Senior lecturer Mette Svendsen at the Department of Nutrition, UiO. Photo: Gunnar F.Lothe, UiO

Researchers found that eating nuts as a substitute for red and processed meats, fried potato products and sweet desserts was associated with less weight gain (Liu X, et al. BMJ Nutrition 2019).

The researchers followed the participants over many years and received dietary data from the participants every four years. This allowed them to follow changes in consumption and weight development, as well as being able to check other changes in dietary factors and lifestyles.  

Other health benefits

Nuts also have other beneficial health effects:

  • Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease by 11%
  • Reduce risk of cancer by 15%
  • Reduce risk of premature death by 22%

(Aune D et al. BMC Med 2016).

Therefore, Mette Svendsen recommends that people follow the Norwegian dietary guidelines which is to eat a small handful of unsalted nuts each day.

References

  1. Lio X, Li Y, Guash-Ferré M et al. Changes in nut consumption influence long-term weight change in US men and women. bmjnph 2019;0:1-10.doi:10.1136/bmjnph-2019-000034.
  2. Aune D. Plant foods, antioxidant biomnarkers, and the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality: A review of th eevidence. Adv Nutr 2019;10:S404-S421. 
  3. Aune D, Keum N, Giovannucci E et al. Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause ans cause-spesific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMC Med 2016;14:207
By Eyrun Thune
Published Dec. 23, 2019 9:14 PM - Last modified Jan. 29, 2020 11:10 AM