Nuts are healthy. Period. We know this. But are certain types of nuts better at facilitating weight loss than others?
The short version: yes—and those nuts are pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios. Want to know why? Read on!
Nuts and Pecans are packed with Nutrients
While certain, respective macronutrients (i.e. fat, carbs, and protein) may be emphasized in different diets, weight loss really depends on one thing: calories. If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you burn more calories than you eat, you lose weight. Sounds pretty simple, right? Then why is weight loss so challenging for most Americans?
If we were all lab rats living in a completely controlled environment with overly simplistic minds, weight loss would be easily achievable for most. Unfortunately, for human beings achieving weight loss is just as much a psychological battle as it is a physical feat. Luckily, there are a few ways to trick the mind into thinking we are eating more than we really are. For snack-type foods, these tricks usually revolve around two things: fiber content and volumetrics.
Nuts Contain Fiber
Fiber comes in two varieties: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber does not break down in water (hence the name) and thus can help relieve constipation and promote adequate stool bulk. Soluble fiber, found in nuts, seeds, and legumes, mixes with water during digestion helping to turn our food into a slow-moving, gel-like mixture. When food is digested at a slower pace, our hunger cues get activated much later and we can hold on to that happy, full feeling for a little longer. Thus, nut varieties that contain a high amount of soluble fiber make great snacks for those of us trying to ditch a couple pounds. Our friend the pecan contains 3 grams of fiber per 1 oz serving. That meets almost half our daily-recommended intake for soluble fiber!
Nuts are Nutrient Dense
Volumetrics, on the other hand, relates more to energy density. Energy density is a fancy term essentially meaning calorie amount per serving size. Broken down even more simply, we want foods that we can take several bites of without eating an excessive amount of calories. So although nuts are so often lumped together as a general, healthy snack, there are significant differences in the energy density of each type of nut. You can eat about 20 pecans for almost the same amount of calories as 6 Brazil nuts! It doesn’t take a nutrition expert or a math whiz to figure out which snack prevails in this context.
Pecans are the Winner
With these facets combined, the answer should be pretty clear: some nuts are better than others for helping to kick start weight loss. The pecan most certainly falls within this triumphant category.