What is the best food for weight loss? When it comes to the best snack options to help with losing weight and belly fat, nuts are often at the very top of such lists all over the internet. Not only are they rich in healthy fats and protein, but they also have fiber which helps keep you full longer, effectively reducing how many calories you consume in a day.
Despite all their benefits and their nutritional value, each kind of nut has different essential nutrients, but they are all high in calories, which means that eating them without any restriction could cause more harm than good on your fat and weight loss journey – proper portion size is the key. In this article we are going to outline the healthiest nuts, the best types of nuts for a ketogenic diet, what kind of nut is best for weight loss and much more.
Why Are Nuts Good For Weight Loss?
Before getting into the discussion of ‘what kind of nut is best for weight loss,’ we should first understand why nuts in general are considered weight loss friendly. What aspects help set them apart and above most snacking options? Here are some reasons why
They Are High In Healthy Fats
For years, many people including those in the scientific community believed that fats were the enemy of progress – not only in the weight loss department, but in relation to general health too. However, with more studies into fats, and with the success of high-fat diets such as the ketogenic meal plan, we now understand that fat itself is not the problem. Instead, it is the type of fat that you eat, and most importantly the way you eat them that determines if they’ll help you shed some weight or increase your waistline.
When it comes to nuts, they are filled with ‘the good kind of fats’ aka unsaturated fats which are known to be incredibly beneficial to the body. For example
- A study done by Uppsala University and published in 2014 found that the consumption of unsaturated fats – specifically polyunsaturated fats – can promote muscle gain over abdominal fat accumulation even when consumed in surplus.
In the study, participants were divided into 2 groups – one group getting their extra fats from sunflower oil (a source of polyunsaturated fat), while the other group got their extra fats from palm oil which has mostly saturated fats. Both groups ate 750 more calories than required for their recommended daily goal with the intention of weight gain.
At the end of the study, those who consumed a surplus of calories from palm oil (saturated fat) experienced a greater increase in the amount of fat in the liver and abdomen, and had especially more visceral fat. On the other hand, those who had more polyunsaturated fats ended up actually gaining more weight from increased muscle and not as much fat. This meant that those in the polyunsaturated fat group were at a lesser risk of diseases like type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other metabolic diseases (2).
- Another study published in the journal of Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome showed that consuming a diet high in monounsaturated fatty acids can lead to decreased body weight, body mass index, waist circumference and body fat mass in obese women (9).
These unsaturated fats are also known to help improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and much more. Monounsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, and macadamia while polyunsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in Brazil nuts, pine nuts and walnuts. Peanuts and pecans are rich in both (10).
They Are Filling And Help Reduce Your Appetite
Nothing kills the dream of weight loss faster than consuming more calories than are recommended for you. Remember a calorie surplus generally equals weight gain while a calorie deficit means weight loss.
Several studies have linked the consumption of nuts (specifically walnuts, almonds and peanuts) to reduced hunger and cravings as well as eating less at meal times/throughout the day (20, 5, 4). Scientists have theorized that this satiating feeling comes from the fact that nuts are high in both protein and unsaturated fats (1,18, 19, 7).
Promotes Fat Loss Through Fecal Matter
Research shows that the fats in nuts – namely peanuts and pistachios – may be poorly absorbed in the body and the excess fats are excreted through the fecal matter. As weird as this sounds, it is a good thing because it prevents the excess fat from being stored in the body which leads to weight gain (11, 16).
Increase Calorie Burning
Research has found that when consumed, nuts boost calorie burning which in turn prevents the conversion of food into fats which are then stored in the body. A study published in 2006 found that peanuts helped boost the Resting energy expenditure of overweight persons by 5 percent (8). A later study discovered that walnuts boost calorie burning by up to 28 percent five hours after the meal (3).
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What Is The Best Nut To Eat For Weight Loss?
The best news is that there are multiple types of nuts that are great for weight loss and not just one specific type. These nuts include Brazil nuts, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios. These are all healthy nuts which promote weight loss and better general health. Check out the table below to see how much calories, protein, nuts, and fiber you get from each type of nut (12, 17, 6, 13, 15, 14):
|Calories (per 1 oz or 28 g serving)
Please also note that:
- Walnuts are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart health, have melatonin, which promotes a healthy sleep cycle and are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients that are known to help lower inflammation levels and prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Almonds have been known to improve cholesterol and lower blood pressure which is good for your heart as well as reduce inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Pistachios, like almonds and walnuts are good for your heart, reduce oxidative status, and could help reduce the rise in blood sugar after a meal.
- Brazil nuts are said to have antioxidant properties and are incredibly high in selenium which helps boost metabolism and improve reproductive health.
- Cashews may help improve blood pressure in people with metabolic syndrome, contain antioxidants and help reduce blood pressure and increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in the body.
- When it comes to nuts with the highest protein, peanuts beat out all the others to take the number 1 spot.
Other healthy nuts to indulge in include macadamia, hazelnuts, and pecans.
Which Is The Best Nut To Eat For Weight Loss On A Ketogenic Diet?
According to Diet Doctor, the safest nuts to consume on keto include pecans, macadamia, and Brazil nuts as they have the lowest amount of carbs per serving. Other nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts and peanuts should be consumed in moderation, while pistachios and cashews are better limited on a keto meal plan as they have the highest amount of carbs.
What Is The Best Nut Butter For Weight Loss?
According to Everyday Health, Women’s Health Magazine, and Eat This, Not That, peanut butter, almond butter and walnut butter make up the top 3 best nut butters for weight loss as they are rich in protein and healthy fats.
The Bottom Line: Which Is The Best Nut For Weight Loss?
For the findings above, all nuts are considered as great options for weight loss. While they may differ in how much fats and protein they have per serving, they are all beneficial to the body in the same way. Just be sure to not overdo how many nuts you eat in a day and you’ll be okay. Please note that if you have a nut allergy, find other healthy snack options.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A review of the effects of nuts on appetite, food intake, metabolism, and body weight (2014, academic.oup.com)
- Abdominal fat accumulation prevented by unsaturated fat (2014, sciencedaily.com)
- Acute effects of three high-fat meals with different fat saturations on energy expenditure, substrate oxidation and satiety (2009, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Appetitive and Dietary Effects of Consuming an Energy-Dense Food (Peanuts) with or between Meals by Snackers and Nonsnackers (2011, hindawi.com)
- Appetitive, dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomized, controlled trial (2013, researchgate.net)
- Brazil nuts (2020, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Effect of fat saturation on satiety, hormone release, and food intake (2009, academic.oup.com)
- Effects of peanut oil load on energy expenditure, body composition, lipid profile, and appetite in lean and overweight adults (2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of unsaturated fatty acids on weight loss, body composition and obesity related biomarkers (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Lipid components of 10 different nut types (2010, faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Measured energy value of pistachios in the human diet (2011, cambridge.org)
- Nuts, almonds (2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Nuts, cashew nuts, raw (2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Nuts, pistachio nuts, raw (2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Nuts, walnuts, English (2019, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Peanut digestion and energy balance (2007, nature.com)
- Peanuts, unroasted (2020, fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Snack Food, Satiety, and Weight (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The degree of saturation of fatty acids influences post-ingestive satiety (2000, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Walnut consumption increases satiation but has no effect on insulin resistance or the metabolic profile over a 4-day period (2012, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)