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Mixed tree nuts may support weight loss and improve satiety, finds UCLA study

Including mixed tree nuts in weight management programs can result in significant weight loss and improved satiety, according to a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).Moreover, a mixture of tree nuts might be “superior” to the consumption of one type of tree nut, the Nutrients-published research found. “Tree nuts – almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts – are all a great source of protein, healthy fats and fiber,” explains lead researcher Dr. Zhaoping Li, professor of medicine and chief of the clinical nutrition division 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,” she notes.The UCLA researchers estimate most people get around 25 percent of their calories each day from snacks and a large proportion come from desserts, sugar-sweetened beverages, sweets and salty snacks.“By replacing just one of those snacks with 1.5 ounces of tree nuts may result in a positive impact on weight and overall health,” states Li.Mixed tree nuts increase satietyResearchers from UCLA compared 95 overweight or obese men and women, aged 30 to 68 years, who consumed either 1.5 ounces of mixed tree nuts or a pretzel snack.Both snacks provided the same number of calories, as part of a hypocaloric weight loss diet – 500 calories less than resting metabolic rate – over 12 weeks. This was followed by an isocaloric weight maintenance program for an additional 12 weeks.Click to EnlargeThe UCLA study found a mixture of tree nuts might be “superior” to the consumption of one type of tree nut.The study authors maintain no significant difference in weight loss was observed between the nut and pretzel snack groups. However, tree nuts were associated with increased satiety, decreased heart rate and increased serum oleic acid during weight maintenance.Moreover, there was a significantly higher dropout rate in the pretzel group (36 percent) compared to the tree nut group (13 percent) in spite of matching retention efforts.The researchers suggest eating tree nut snacks increases satiety due to a decrease in appetite-related hormones ghrelin and leptin, as well as tree nuts’ increased energy density.Getting weight under controlWeight management is a major concern among consumers, as obesity is one of the most common non-communicable diseases. Efforts to curb its adverse health effects are rising, both from industry and public health organizations, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.In fact, risk of death from COVID-19 is ten times higher in countries where over half the population is classified as overweight, according to a report released by The World Obesity Federation.Recent research has shown that more than 40 percent of US adults are overweight or obese. Many consumers have gained weight during the past yeardue to pandemic-induced social distancingand home isolation requirements, partly due to less exercise and more snacking.As highlighted in Innova Market Insights’ personalization trend forecast, global consumers are less interested in following a strict diet but rather inclined to find nutritional solutions that fit their individual lifestyles.This has given rise to sugar and sodium replacements in the weight management category, ranging from an alternative fat ingredient made from rapeseed oil to savory protein cakes and fat-reducing probiotic molecules.Demand for nutritional solutions to curb sugar cravings has also spurred industry innovation. For example, Sugarbreakoffers natural ingredients to reduce sugar intake and manage blood sugar levels – with delivery formats tailored to adult and child obesity.

Reference : Nutrition Insight