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Nuts, body weight and insulin resistance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 April 2007

Sujatha Rajaram*
Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA
Joan Sabaté
Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA
*Corresponding author: Sujatha Rajaram, fax 909-558-4095, email
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Traditionally, nuts have been considered a staple food, but because of their high energy and fat content are not considered good for body weight control or insulin sensitivity. Frequent consumption of nuts reduces the risk of coronary artery disease and type-2 diabetes and nut-enriched diets favourably alter blood lipids in normal and hypercholesterolemic individuals under controlled and free-living dietary conditions. However, whether or not frequent consumption of nuts can cause weight gain and impair insulin sensitivity is not fully understood. Review of the available data to date suggests that adding nuts to habitual diets of free-living individuals does not cause weight gain. In fact, nuts have a tendency to lower body weight and fat mass. In the context of calorie-restricted diets, adding nuts produces a more lasting and greater magnitude of weight loss among obese subjects while improving insulin sensitivity. Further studies are needed to clarify the effect of long-term (≥ year) consumption of nuts on body weight and their role in altering insulin sensitivity both in normal and type-2 diabetics. In the meantime, there is sufficient evidence to promote the inclusion of nuts as part of healthy diets.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 2006


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