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Walnuts impact on weight loss explored

Thursday 11th February 2016
Doctors have been exploring the weight loss credentials of walnuts. Image: Thinkstock
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Eating a handful of walnuts each day could lead to people losing the same amount of weight as if they embarked on a low-fat, high-carb diet.

This is according to research carried out by doctors at the San Diego School of Medicine at the University of California, which resulted in the discovery that the high unsaturated fat content of walnuts can have significant health benefits.

Scientists recruited 245 overweight and obese women aged between 22 and 72 for their six-month investigation, before assigning them to one of three diet plans. The first was low in fat but high in carbohydrates, the second was low-carb and high-fat, and the third was similar to the second, but also included at least one portion of walnuts every day.

It was found that participants who regularly consumed walnuts lost a comparative amount of weight to those in the other diet groups, but they also experienced some other health benefits, including an increase in good cholesterol.

Dr Cheryl Rock, lead author of the study, commented: "Even though walnuts are higher in fat and calories, the walnut-rich diet was associated with the same degree of weight loss as a lower-fat diet.

"Considering the results of this study, as well as previous walnut research on heart health and weight, there's something to be said for eating a handful of walnuts a day."

Dieticians and consumers alike need to bear in mind that these results will not be evident following the consumption of any kind of nut, it is just walnuts that contain particularly high levels of polyunsaturated fats - around 13 grams per ounce. Although other nuts do contain these nutrients, they don't have them in anywhere near the same quantity as walnuts.

Further research is now being planned to find out how walnuts impact the appetite, as this is a key factor in maintaining weight loss.

Written by Martin Lambert

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