Monday, March 18, 2013

Go nuts ... eat them, they’re good for you!

NUTS - protein, fibre, healthy oils, vitamins, trace elements and antioxidants, along with what we’ve always thought was a hefty dose of calories. But high nut consumption is associated with lower incidence of obesity, so what’s the real story? 

Well if you’ve always believed that what Nature put on the trees and in the ground for your consumption was intrinsically healthy, you’re probably still eating nuts despite the fact that they’ve been demonised as high-calorie, high-fat, “eat only in small quantities” etc. Nuts are a bit like eggs - inappropriately maligned - but now back on the “eat lots” list. Nuts are a real Renaissance story according to researchers!

And now they can tell us why. First of all, it seems that eating nuts in the morning will cause you to eat less later in the day, for example 100 calories of nuts in the am, and you’ll reduce your later food intake by 65-70 calories. Full explanation for the reason not yet forthcoming, but scientists say it’s not due to nuts’ effects on the hormones controlling your appetite. Reason number two, if you eat whole nuts, some bits of the nuts pass through your gut unchanged, taking that potential caloric contribution with them, which means the caloric content of nuts has been have over-estimated by up to 20 percent. Finally, it appears that regular nut consumption has the ability to increase your metabolic rate.

And here’s my thought ... could it be that nut consumption positively affects the health of the gut microbiota and consequently energy metabolism is increased? Furthermore, if nuts have a presumed caloric value, do they exert the same metabolic effects as an iso-caloric, high-fat biscuit or cake?  More on the iso-caloric vs iso-metabolic story in my recent blog. To sum up, a nut is a nut except when it’s a peanut* and a calorie is not always a calorie. Whatever, and all things considered, every reason for you to go nuts and eat more of them!

BTW Peanuts are legumes ... not nuts!

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