Which types of nuts are (un) healthy and do they help with weight loss?
Nuts are often touted for their many health benefits. They would be ideal as a snack as well as with weight loss. But to what extent is this true and are all nuts equally healthy?
In this article, I give you everything you need to know about the health benefits of nuts. You also learn my top 9 nuts that are the healthiest to buy. From this list, there is one very healthy and you have to be very careful with one.
In addition, in this article you will learn:
- How many nuts can contribute to your weight loss process
- How eating fatty nuts will improve your cholesterol levels
- The most important ‘value’ to look at when you want to choose which nuts are the healthiest
- What is the powerful composition of nuts that makes them one of the healthiest products on earth
- Why nuts can ideally be used for one very specific moment in your day (especially during weight loss)
- Whether you need to burn nuts or burned without burning – and should you avoid salt or not?
Everything You Need To Know About Nuts
“Nuts are one of the healthiest products you can eat on earth.”
This is not a quote from Einstein or another scientific virtuoso. It comes out of my mouth and is the conclusion of many scientific studies done on nuts and their health benefits (source).
Perhaps you have heard similar statements or seen on the internet. That you have seen something over does not immediately make it true.
If that were true, you should also believe that obtaining sugars from a Snicker is just as healthy for eating like an apple (which is sincere what I have recently read online).
That is why I am going to help you to distinguish the sense and nonsense about notes. Many of the health benefits you read about nuts are true.
But first I want to give you the most important lesson about notes that you should never forget:
Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio is Very Important.
There are different values that you can use to express the degree of health of a product.
For example, you can look at:
- Quantity (added) salt
- Quality/price ratios of a product
And although all of the above parameters have their time and place in food science, this is not what you should look at with nuts.
With nuts, you only want to look at one thing:
The omega-6 / Omega-3 Ratio
There are very important reasons for this.
Omega-3 are fats that almost everyone has ever heard of. It is one of the fabrics that food manufacturers are only too happy to advertise when it is in a product. And that’s because omega-3 fats are very healthy for the body.
This is how they help:
- Reducing the amount of inflammation in your body.
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing your insulin sensitivity
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduce the amount of inflammation in your body
And this is the tip of the gigantic iceberg of benefits that omega-3 fats have to offer. They are so healthy that no upper limit has been established and no disadvantages are known.
That means that the more you eat, the healthier you will be. There will undoubtedly be a quantity in which omega-3 becomes unhealthy or toxic, but you can never realistically get it. Not even when you have been too enthusiastic about fish oil capsules.
As far as omega-3 is concerned, it is very simple: the more the better.
But omega-3 also has a little brother who is slightly less healthy for you. This little brother is called omega-6 and does exactly the opposite of omega-3 in the body. So you have to stay far away.
What omega-6 fats do is:
- Increasing the amount of inflammation in your body.
- Increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by lowering your insulin sensitivity
- Increase the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Increase the amount of inflammation in your body
You will, therefore, have concluded that you want to eat as many omega-3 fats as possible and to reduce the amounts of omega-6 fats. That is very good … only with nuts, this is a lot harder than other products.
The worst thing is that the product never only contains omega-3. It is always a mixture of the two. Because of this you always want to look at the ratio omega-3 / omega-6. This allows you to some extent neutralize the unhealthy properties of omega-6 fats with the healthy benefits of omega-3.
So you do not want to look at the total amount only, but also at the ratio.
Vegetable Products Are A Problem
The average Westerner gets 17 times more omega-6 than omega-3. That is MUCH too high. In an ideal world, this is 1: 1 but that is practically not feasible. A healthy and feasible ratio is 4 parts omega-6 to 1 part omega-3. fish oil omega-3
Before I tell you what the benefits of nuts are, I have to say one thing.
Vegetable products that are high in fat are particularly rich in omega-6 fats. It will, therefore, be virtually impossible to get enough omega-3 from a plant-based diet without the use of supplements. There are some exceptions such as walnuts, linseed and chia seed.
This means in practice that you have to eat salmon (or other oily fish) more often or take omega-3 supplements to get enough omega-3 fats.
Advantage # 1: They Contain Many Healthy Nutrients
Nuts are a bomb of nutrients. And that is not surprising when you look at the biology of a nut. For a nut, the nutrients are just like the fat layer of a human being:
They contain enough energy so that the nut can turn into a complete plant. This requires a lot of energy.
A small 28 grams of mixed nuts soon contain (source):
- Calories: 173
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fats: 16 grams
- Carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Fibers: 3 grams
- Vitamin E: 12% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 16% of the ADH
- Phosphorus: 13% of the ADH
- Copper: 23% of the ADH
- Selenium: 56% of the ADH
Not all nuts have the above profile. For example, Brazil nuts contain a relatively large amount of selenium when compared with other nuts. Depending on what recommended daily quantity you are looking at, you only need 1 to 4 Brazil nuts to get your selenium. So with Brazil nuts, you have a surplus rather than a shortage.
In contrast, cashew nuts contain relatively many carbohydrates. About 23 grams per 100 grams to be precise. Hazelnuts, macadamia and Brazil nuts are almost 4 times as low in terms of carbohydrates.
Although nuts have different profiles, almost all nuts remain good to eat provided they do not have a dramatic omega-6 / omega-3 ratio. The only thing the above example shows is that you can use notes for different purposes.
Advantage # 2: They Contain Antioxidants
Even with antioxidants, your body will not be deficient if you eat nuts.
To explain exactly what antioxidants are, a complete blog would be in itself. But I can keep it short:
Antioxidants have two functions in the body. On the one hand, they neutralize so-called free radicals that are released in the body in all kinds of metabolic processes (source). You can view these substances as the exhaust fumes of the body that are released by the machinery of body cells.
In addition, antioxidants are toxic and bitter. They have antibacterial effects and their bitter taste prevents eating by other animals. These substances are therefore mainly responsible for the taste, smell and even color of plants. Bright color in nature almost always means “Beware! I am dangerous”.
These substances, therefore, increase the chance of survival of a plant. You would think that it is very unhealthy to consume these substances.
But fortunately, this is not the case.
These substances are not toxic enough to kill us as humans … but we do ensure that our immune system gets a positive boost. This makes it work more efficiently and strengthens your immune system.
A so-called ORAC test measures the extent to which a product is able to neutralize the free radicals. What seems? Walnuts can do this better than fish (source).
Now, this walnuts is not so very special or powerful. In fact, all plants (walnuts are just like a plant’s broccoli) have these characteristics. The more bitter and colorful the plant is, the more antioxidants it contains.
Advantage # 3: They Help You To Lose Weight
Probably this is the main reason why you came on this blog. You want to know if nuts help you lose weight. After all, if you look at nuts they have all the ‘apparent’ characteristics of food that you do not want to eat during a diet.
They are high in fat, high in calories and you eat very much very quickly.
But this is nonsense, of course.
But the mystery is that nobody knows exactly what makes nuts so good at losing weight. There are different theories about this.
For example, there is a group that indicates that it is partly because not all calories of nuts are recorded. As a result, part of it will come out on the other side undigested. As a result, you unconsciously eat too few calories and you fall off without knowing it (source).
Otherwise, nuts contain both fats, proteins and fibers, which makes them extremely saturated. 100 grams of nuts as fast as 600 kcal but actually 100 grams of nuts to work inside is a decent art that few people can do. If you are satisfied longer and better, you will be less inclined to (over) eat. This also means you will lose weight.
Yet another theory is that nuts increase your metabolism, causing you to burn more fat (source).
Because it turns out that even when you eat as many calories as people who do not eat nuts, you lose weight anyway. This was partly explained by the fact that fewer calories were included, but that did not explain the entire situation. That is why you are also thinking of increasing your metabolism.
The reality will probably be a combination of all the above factors. But the most important thing is this:
That nuts help with weight loss.
I suspect you have little need for the mechanism behind this. All nuts help you because they have more or less the same properties. So do not worry about which nuts can best be used for this. You should especially not look at one product in your diet but at the whole picture.
Advantage # 4: They Improve Your Cholesterol Levels
Nuts, like many other healthy high-fat products, they have great positive effects on your cholesterol levels. One of the rules of healthy eating that you should never forget is that eating healthy fat will make you healthier and lose more fat. Especially with regard to processes that involve ‘fats’ such as your cholesterol levels or hormone housekeeping.
This is how pistachios seem to ensure that your cholesterol improves. A 12-week study of obese people showed that their triglycerides were 33% lower when they ate pistachios (source).
Also, almonds and hazelnuts are good for your cholesterol. So they both seem to lower your total cholesterol and LDL, and at the same time, they increase your good HDL cholesterol (source) (source)(source).
When you look at the studies, you actually see that this applies to all notes. Although improving your cholesterol levels will not be a reason to eat nuts, it is nicely included. It is one of the few ways to get healthy fats without having to cook extensively. At the most, avocado and coconut could be eaten for healthy fats.
Fish, olive oil, linseed, butter and coconut fat are not ideal to take as a snack or to eat ‘for a while’ as a healthy fat source. But more about that later.
Advantage # 5: They Help With Type 2 Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome
Most people link ‘food’ to all sorts of fun in life. Often, good food is central to celebrating something and eating not good food can make your day completely ruined.
But I do not link so fast to socializing and celebrating things. I, unfortunately, link it to various diseases that can be prevented with a healthy diet.
Take diabetes type 2 now. It is a disease that affects more than one million people in the Netherlands. About 10% of these do not (yet) know that he/she has it and there are about 1000 cases per week!
And the prognosis of this group is certainly not mild:
- 10 to 43% of people with type 2 diabetes develop cardiovascular disease.
- 1 in 10 cases of death is due to cardiovascular disease due to type 2 diabetes.
- 4 to 46% of people with type 2 diabetes have eye complaints. After 20 years of diabetes type 1, this is 82%.
- 5 to 40% of people with type 2 diabetes have kidney damage. The extent of this depends very much on how long someone has type 2 diabetes.
- 6 to 34% of people with type 2 diabetes have nerve damage. The extent of this depends very much on how long someone has type 2 diabetes.
- 1 in 6 people with diabetes suffers from depression. This is almost double the general population.
Fortunately, notes for this group can be a way out. It turns out that eating nuts mean that you have fewer free radicals in the blood, your blood pressure drops and your blood sugar level improves (source) (source) (source).
In addition, a 12-week study has shown that eating 25 grams of pistachios twice a day ensures that your fasting blood sugar level drops by 9% (source).
Type 2 diabetes goes hand in hand with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which your entire body is more or less disrupted and you develop various symptoms such as type 2 diabetes, visceral fat, high blood pressure and obesity. This group has also shown that eating nuts can help to slow down and reverse this process (source).
Advantage # 6: They Reduce Inflammation In Your Body
Nobody is jumping when he/she reads something that gives you more inflammation. Although you may not immediately experience the effects of inflammation in your body, you know that inflammation on the outside of your body is not pleasant.
The inflammations in your body increase the risk of various diseases and destroy your organs inside (source). This ensures, among other things, that your lifespan is shortened.
The antioxidants of nuts, fortunately, seem to be able to do something against all these inflammations in your body. For example, people who eat nuts 5 times a week have fewer inflammations in their bodies than people who (almost) never eat (source).
The large PREDIMED study showed that eating healthy nuts caused the CRP to drop by 35% and the IL-6 decreased by 90% (source). Both CRP and IL-6 are substances that are involved in inflammation in the body. The less you have of this, the better it is.
Not all positive effects of healthy nuts will therefore immediately be noticed. But in the long run, you will be very grateful if you can grow old healthily because you have reduced the inflammation in your body.
Advantage # 7: They Are Easy To Carry
Most snacks that are easy to carry are often not healthy. And snacks that are healthy are not always easy to carry.
Notes solve both problems. As you have read above, his notes are very healthy. There are actually no disadvantages apart from sometimes an unfortunate omega-3 / omega-6 ratio and the price.
A bag of 100-grams nuts in your bag contains a lot of calories, healthy fats and proteins to fill you.
What else do you want? This snack is also easy to vary. After all, you can choose from different notes and could literally eat a different note every day of the week.
But which nuts can you eat the best? And should they be burnt or unroasted? With or without salt?
You will learn the answer to all these questions below:
The Healthiest Nuts For Losing Weight And As A Inbetween Snack
As you have read before, the degree of health of a nut is mainly determined by the omega-3 / omega-6 ratio. Although many articles on the internet focus on things like proteins, fibers or carbohydrates … this is far from good. The omega-3 / omega-6 ratio should be the main filter for your choice for the type of nuts you are going to eat.
Then you have to see how much you are willing to pay for these notes.
Because although walnuts have the best omega-3 / omega-6 ratios, they are also the most expensive.
If you do not have it very wide or simply do not want to lose a lot of nuts, you will not easily choose walnuts. Peanuts, on the other hand, are the cheapest but have a very bad omega-3 / omega-6 ratio.
Between these extremes lie many other nuts with different omega-3 / omega-6 ratios and price. Cashews have the best price/quality ratio in my view. But the taste for a certain note also plays a role.
Below you can find a list where I have tried to rank the notes on ‘how healthy they are’.
- Walnuts (best omega-6 / omega-3 ratio)
- Brazil nuts
- Peanuts (worst omega-6 / omega-3 ratio)
It is best to eat all these nuts both raw and unsalted. The closer a nature is to a product, the healthier it is. Burning nuts unfortunately causes certain nutrients to be lost (source). The less a product is processed, the better it is often for you. So also in the case of nuts.
You should avoid salt not so much because it is unhealthy … but because research shows that you get more hungry from salted products (source). This will make you eat more. Since nuts contain a lot of calories per 100 grams, you want to be careful with this. A handful of extra can easily yield about 150 extra kcal. Not ideal when you want to lose weight.
Did you know that research shows that 1 in 3 just gains from a diet instead of losing weight? (source)
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