"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Why Can Walnuts Help You Lose Weight?

The research we're taking a look at.

Photo: © Boonchuay1970/Thinkstock

Eating a handful of nuts most days of the week reduces the chance of obesity and heart disease. New research may help explain why: Walnuts appear to stimulate brain regions involved in appetite and movement control.

For the study, nine obese people drank a smoothie containing about 14 portions of walnuts or a placebo smoothie (an identical in taste and calories) for five consecutive days. After a month on their regular food regimen, participants returned for an additional five days, during which the placebo group drank walnut smoothies and vice versa. On the fifth day of each periods, they underwent brain imaging tests while taking a look at desirable foods (corresponding to burgers and cakes), less desirable foods (vegetables), or neutral pictures of rocks and trees.

When people saw the specified foods, brain scans showed greater activity in an area generally known as the proper insula after walnut smoothies in comparison with placebo drinks. Greater activity on this brain region may reflect higher tolerance for desirable (and fewer healthy) foods. This, in turn, may promote healthier food decisions, say the authors, whose study was published online Aug. 17, 2017. Diabetes, obesity and metabolism.