Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

Go Nuts on Your Diet!

Peanuts, almonds and more are good -- and good for you
By
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

Many weight-conscious people shudder at the idea of nuts as part of a healthy diet. For years, dieters have shunned nuts because of their high fat content. Well, you can forget everything you ever heard about nuts, and delight in knowing they are now considered health food! The key to including the great taste of nuts in a healthy diet without overdoing the fat and calories is portion control.

Even the government is leaning toward allowing a health claim on food packages touting the nutritious benefits of nuts. The Food and Drug Administration is now reviewing a proposal that would allow foods containing nuts to carry this label: "Diets containing one ounce of nuts per day can reduce your risk of heart disease."

An Ounce of Prevention

Several studies over the past several years have shown the health benefits of nuts -- which contain monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper, protein, and fiber, and are rich in antioxidant phytochemicals.

They are a powerhouse of good nutrition that can dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease. They've also been shown to play an important role in helping to lower "bad" cholesterol levels and raise "good" cholesterol levels. In addition, they can help dilate blood vessels and prevent hardening of the arteries.

In the Nurses Health Study, which followed 86,016 nurses for 14 years, found those who ate 5 ounces or more of nuts per week reduced their risk of dying from heart disease by 35%. The researchers also noted that the nut-eaters tended to weigh less than the nurses who did not eat nuts.

Dieter's Dream Come True

To find a food that is delicious, nutritious and filling is a dieter's dream come true. Dieters who eat nuts tend to stick to their diets because the fat and fiber content of nuts makes them very filling. As a result, they are not as hungry and ultimately eat less.

Several studies have found that eating small amounts of nuts helps dieters lose weight. One psychological benefit noted in a study done by Pennsylvania State researchers was that dieters did not feel like they were dieting when nuts were allowed in their eating plans -- which helped them stay on their diets longer.

So here's some food for thought for all our WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Are nuts in your eating plan? If not, consider creating a new plan and indicate your preference for nuts or peanut butter on the questionnaire. This will result in an eating plan that includes nuts without extra calories.

Portion Control

Nuts might be considered health food, but that's not a license to overindulge. When you add nuts to your diet, you add calories along with the health benefits. So it's important to decrease calories from other sources to avoid weight gain. Our program prescribes nuts within the context of a healthy diet to give you the health benefits without the extra calories.

Today on WebMD

vegetables
Video
feet on scale
Blog
 
Woman looking at reflection in mirror
Article
Hot cup of coffee
Quiz
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens