Go Nuts on Your Diet!
Peanuts, almonds and more are good -- and good for you
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
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
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.
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.