Did you start eating more walnuts when I revealed last month that folks who eat more of them live longer?
Or perhaps you added them to your shopping list earlier this month after I explained how they could reduce your risk for stoke?
If you did, you might have found that your clothes are fitting a bit loser today.
Because new research has confirmed eating walnuts helps us control our appetites, and can keep us from overeating.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve made a connection between walnuts and weight loss. As we’ve explained before, walnuts are terrific for tackling hunger pangs.
Control appetite and lose weight
Walnuts are full of filling protein and the kind of satisfying unsaturated fats that researchers say could help us control appetite and lose weight. And despite them being relatively high in calories nut eaters tend to weigh less than their nut shunning peers.
But this exciting new double blind study, published in the journal Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism, revealed how walnuts work their magic.1
It turns out when we eat these delicious nuts they light up an area in our brain which regulates hunger and cravings. In other words, it’s not just folks saying they feel fuller after eating walnuts. There’s actual brain activity that backs their feelings up.
For the experiment researchers needed to monitor exactly how much folks were eating. So they asked their 10 obese volunteers to stay in the lab for two five day long sessions.
During one session, volunteers drank smoothies made with 48 grams of walnuts. And in their other session, they got a similar nut-free smoothie that matched in flavor and nutritional content.
But neither the volunteers nor the researchers knew which smoothie a volunteer was getting in either session.
Walnuts satisfy hunger so you can eat less
The researchers kept records of how hungry the volunteers felt during both weeks. And it turns out during the week folks got the walnut smoothie they reported feeling significantly less hungry.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of their brains revealed why.
On the fifth day of the sessions, the volunteers had fMRI done while looking at a variety of pictures.
- Some pics were of delicious looking foods, such as hamburgers and desserts.
- Others were images of less desirable foods, such as vegetables.
- And some photos were of non-food items, such as stones or flowers.
When the mouthwatering foods popped up on the screen, the fMRIs lit up like Christmas trees in the right insula of the brain in the folks who had eaten the walnut smoothies.
According to the researchers, the right insula manages your appetite, telling you when you feel full and satisfied. And helping you to control your desire to eat.
In the real world, that means eating walnuts could help you say no that second helping. To replicate the research results in your own life try snacking on a fistful of organic walnuts every day to control appetite and manage your weight.
1. “Walnut consumption increases activation of the insula to highly desirable food cues: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over fMRI study,” Diabetes Obes Metab. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/dom.13060
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