A Guide to Nuts
“I Will Gain Weight!”
The tides are definitely turning in favour of fats. With the ketogenic diet gaining in popularity in fitness and nutrition circles and animosity growing towards sugar, renewed attention is being paid to fat and all of its different types and sources. Turns out, the fat in your food doesn’t automatically turn into the fat on your body. Who knew?!
One awesome source of healthy fats is nuts. Almonds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, walnuts, and more! All are high in fat, though they differ in their micronutrient profile, and different ones can offer different health benefits.
A diet high in tree nuts has been correlated with numerous awesome health outcomes. Many studies have displayed a positive association between eating nuts and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, which experts hypothesize is due to their high fatty acid profile and perhaps their dietary fibre content. Another review found many studies to support the correlation between nut intake and a lower diabetes mellitus (Type 2) risk (as long as caloric intake is regulated so as to maintain a healthy body weight, the researchers are careful to point out). If you’re worried about the admittedly high calorie content of nuts, many studies have linked regular, long term nut consumption to lower body weight and a lower risk of obesity overall.
Not all nuts are made equal, however, and some nuts are generally considered more ‘healthful’ than others. The prevalence of nut allergies, as well, has been on the rise, and one article found that peanut allergies in children had doubled in frequency between 1997 and 2002 in the U.S. So, it goes without saying, that if you have a nut allergy, there are plenty of other excellent sources of healthy fats. Coconut, in case you were wondering, isn’t actually a nut, but is an excellent source of fat, and doesn’t seem to have the same allergenic properties as tree nuts.
Check out the infographic table below to see the different profiles and health benefits of some of the most popular varieties of nuts.
Jaceldo-Siegl, K., Haddad, E., Oda, K., Fraser, G. E., & Sabaté, J. (2014). Tree Nuts Are Inversely Associated with Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: The Adventist Health Study-2. PLoS ONE, 9(1). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085133
Kris-Etherton, P. M., Zhao, G., Binkoski, A. E., Coval, S. M., & Etherton, T. D. (2009). The Effects of Nuts on Coronary Heart Disease Risk. Nutrition Reviews, 59(4), 103-111. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2001.tb06996.x
Lovejoy, J. C. (2005). The impact of nuts on diabetes and diabetes risk. Current Diabetes Reports, 5(5), 379-384. doi:10.1007/s11892-005-0097-x
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