Eat This High-Calorie Food At Least Once A Week To Stay Lean

Put these on your plate to ward off packing on the kilos.

Christa Sgobba |

A high-calorie food may be key for keeping weight gain in check: People who eat more nuts are less likely to become overweight or obese, a study in the European Journal of Nutrition found.

Related: Eat These Nuts For Stronger Sperm

In the study, researchers evaluated the diets of more than 373,000 adults from 10 European countries, and then followed them up for five years to see how their weight changed.

On average, the participants gained about two kilos over the five-year period. But those who ate the most nuts a day—more than six grams, averaging about 12 grams a day—gained significantly less weight than those who didn’t eat any nuts at all.

In fact, for each additional 15 grams of nuts per day they ate, the experienced about a 2.5 percent reduction in body weight increase, the researchers say.

What’s more, those who ate at least six grams of nuts a day were five percent less likely to become overweight or obese by the time the study ended.

Related: 10 Ways To Lose Weight Without Starving

The results seen when looking at absolute consumption of nuts was pretty small, but they became more noticeable when looking at frequency of how often people ate them instead. People who ate nuts at least once a week had a 10 percent lower body weight increase, the study found.

The link between less weight gain and nut consumption continued, even after the researchers adjusted for dietary quality—meaning it wasn’t just that nut consumers ate better diets overall, but that there does seem to be something specific about nuts that helps ward off weight gain.

So how can nuts be protective for your waistline? Seems counterintuitive, since they are a calorie-dense snack. Each 28-gram serving of walnuts, for instance, contains 180 calories. That’s just 14 walnut halves.

Related: 7 Weightloss Snacks That Will Actually Keep You Full

But they can help keep your weight in check for a few reasons: First, their combo of fibre and protein can help keep you full for longer. Researchers say their unsaturated fat and protein content can also help you burn more calories at rest. Plus, the way you chew nuts allows for a low level of fat absorption, possibly meaning you take in less energy from them.

So don’t be afraid to add these high-calorie options to your diet: Just portion them out beforehand so you’re not taking in more than you think. If you’re not careful—say you eat your nuts straight from the can or bag—you can easily eat way more than a serving.

As for an added bonus? Eating nuts brings other health benefits, too, like cutting junk food cravings and improving your memory.

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