One of the biggest challenges of eating healthy is feeling full from eating less stereotypically "filling" foods; bread, pasta, and rice will most likely not be on the menu (at least not in excess). That's where walnuts come in. According to The New York Times, eating a handful of these omega-3–rich nuts may be "an effective weight-loss tool."
The newspaper references a study published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, which found that, in moderation, walnuts can help control appetite and reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes. To reach this conclusion, they had nine hospitalized obese patients drink either a smoothie containing 14 walnut halves or a "placebo" smoothie identical in taste and calorie content without the walnuts for five consecutive days. The patients then went back on their normal diets for five months, returning for another five-day walnut smoothie trial afterward.
Finally, the participants were asked to look at pictures of high-fat foods, low-fat foods, and neutral photos of things like rocks and trees while undergoing an MRI brain scan. In the end, those who drank the walnut smoothies had more activity in the insula region of the brain, which controls appetite and impulse.
While the study was partly funded by the California Walnut Commission, walnuts already have a good reputation among doctors and nutritionists. "Walnuts can alter the way our brains view food and impact our appetites," said lead study author Olivia Farr of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to the Times. "Our results confirm the current recommendations to include walnuts as part of a healthy diet."
Are walnuts a regular part of your diet? Share your review of these satiating nuts in the comments below.