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No matter how hard we try, it’s hard to give up snacking.
And should we deny ourselves even a few simple pleasures? Previous studies have shown that restrictive diets are just not realistic in the long run, so I think that’s a “no.”
But what if you could snack and still meet your weight goal — all the while increasing your willpower?
I know. It sounds too good to be true. But just in time to help you hold on to your New Year’s resolution, I’m here to tell you it’s not…
Nuts + calorie restriction for the win
The research, published in the journal Nutrients followed 95 overweight or obese men and women. Each participant was asked to follow a low-calorie diet plan by reducing their calorie intake to 500 calories below their resting metabolic rate.
This was to allow their body to burn more calories than they ate, so the pounds could fall off. This diet lasted 12 weeks and was then followed by 12 weeks of maintenance.
The participants only did one thing differently…
One group had a snack of pretzels each day. The other group ate a snack of mixed nuts that provided the same number of calories.
And guess what, while both groups experienced significant weight loss, the participants who ate nuts each day were the clear winners.
Not only did they get to shed the extra weight and achieve a significant decrease in their BMI at 12 weeks, but they also had much less trouble sticking to their diets.
In fact, the researchers say that eating nuts worked to improve satiety, making following a low-calorie plan much easier and participants less likely to give up. Yea, willpower!
To top it off, the tree nut group also showed greater weight maintenance compared to the pretzel group after 24 weeks. They even benefited from a lower heart rate!
Snack your way to improved weight loss
“Tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts) are a great source of protein, healthy fats and fiber,” explained lead researcher, Zhaoping Li, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition at UCLA.
“This makes them so satiating and may be a major reason why we saw less weight gain in the tree nut group during weight maintenance, and a significantly lower dropout rate compared to the pretzel group.”
So what do the researchers recommend in light of these findings?
They say to replace just one snack a day with 1.5 ounces of your favorite tree nuts and make that your go-to weight-loss snack. It could be the key to boosting your weight loss, as well as your overall health.
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