science of us

Nuts Are Life, the Rest Is Just Details

Photo: R.Tsubin/Getty Images

Two new studies about nuts’ health benefits came out this week, one of which was partially funded by the California Walnut Association. (Thanks to nutritionist Marion Nestle for the reminder to keep an eye out for that.)

The partially walnut-funded study — which took into consideration three different studies, on more than 125,000 participants in total — found that people who ate a serving of nuts or peanuts every day were less likely to gain weight or become obese during the course of the studies’ four-year intervals. (A serving of nuts being an ounce of whole nuts or two tablespoons of nut butter.) The study also found that specifically substituting a serving of nuts for a serving of “red meat, processed meat, French fries, dessert, or potato chips” was similarly associated with a reduced likelihood of weight gain and obesity. Which is not … hugely surprising. It’s also sort of funny and sad to envision. (“Thanks, but I’m just having nuts.”)

The second study, which was tiny by comparison — only 22 people — looked at hunger and insulin levels in participants who’d recently eaten either a serving of pretzels or a serving of Brazil nuts (five Brazil nuts, specifically). The researchers found that the people who’d eaten the Brazil nuts felt fuller for longer and had lower blood glucose and insulin levels, comparatively. Also not a huge shocker, but still nice. If only Brazil nuts had a better flavor. Although I’m now intrigued by the idea of ABC nut butter (made with almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews).

I probably eat about 3 pounds of nuts a week, since we’re talking about them. I’m also enjoying these carved walnut shells. Big nut companies should sponsor more nutshell carving!

Nuts Are Life, the Rest Is Just Details