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Tree nuts composition and body weight

As tree nuts are foods with a high fat content they have always been associated with increased body weight. However, recent research not only fails to back this up, but appears to prove the opposite.

Researchers at the Rovira i Virgili university's human nutrition unit in Reus have published an article in the prestigious European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in which they assess all the scientific evidence on the matter. According to the researchers, studies carried out to date of large population samples do not link habitual consumption of tree nuts to obesity, but rather the opposite. That is to say, individuals who habitually consume tree nuts are generally thinner than those who do not eat them, as they have a lower body mass index (BMI), a measurement used in nutrition to classify people into obese, overweight, of normal weight or underweight. On the other hand, dietary intervention studies with tree nuts, where individuals are asked to include these foods in their daily diet, also show similar results: most studies do not show significant changes in body weight associated with tree nut-rich diets. The most recent study in this field was carried out by Dr. Joan Sabaté and his team at the University of Loma Linda in California and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. These researchers assessed the effect on body weight of adding 42 to 72g of almonds to the daily diet of 81 individuals. After six months of study, no significant weight gain was observed and only those individuals with a lower body mass index prior to the study displayed a small increase in their weight. There is therefore no proof that regular consumption of tree nuts causes weight gain. According to the experts, there are several mechanisms which would explain this: 1. Absorption of tree nuts may be incomplete, so that part of their fat content might not be absorbed by the human body and would instead be excreted in the form of faeces. 2. Tree nut consumption may have a certain satiating effect, so leading to a reduction in the consumption of other foods and helping to control total energy ingestion. 3. Though it is not proved, an adaptation of the metabolism may take place, so that energy consumption may be more efficient and the body may be able to burn more energy, so avoiding an accumulation of body fat. For these reasons, while the researchers insist on the need for further study of the matter, it appears what, contrary to popular belief, tree nuts do not make people fat.Nucis (Health and Tree Nuts) Foundation is a non profit organisation born in 1999, headquartered in Spain, which main objectives are the study, investigation and the diffusion of the nutritional and dietetic characteristics of tree nuts, especially of the healthy beneficial effects. Nucis promotes the healthy qualities of almonds, Brazil walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine kernels, pistachios and walnuts. More information in