The Truth About Tree Nuts

High in calories and high in fat, tree nuts can't be good for you, right?!

WRONG!

One of my assignments for Careers in Nutrition and Dietetics class was to find a professional meeting to attend or watch a webinar online that was presented by a Registered Dietitian. Because of my busy schedule and the lack of events in my area, I chose to watch a webinar, on tree nuts.

Let me just say, that tuning in to this recorded webinar was a great assignment not only to gain information and to hear from other RDs, but it was a good motivation and realization of the information that we are surrounded by and that these webinars and so numerous and easily accessible. For those of you that don't know, I have a slight obsession with learning new information and becoming proficient on topics. This is a main reason why I listen to podcasts rather than the radio and now, knowing that I can listen in on webinars just like podcasts, it further drives my passion for learning, especially with nutrition as the topic. I encourage everyone to become a lifelong student and take advantage of these avenues for learning.

Okay, so back to tree nuts....

The focus of the webinar was how tree nuts lead to benefits in weight management. The presentation was quite science heavy but I will try to explain it in plain English to share all of the information. If you're interested in more of the graphs, figures and a more scientific explanation check out the webinar here and if you have any questions or want further information comment below or contact me at abssofruitly@gmail.com. 

First, looking at the correlation between BMI (Body Mass Index) and frequency of nut consumption, there appears to be either an inverse relationship (decreased BMI with increased nut consumption) or no change in BMI.

Click on the image to enlarge.

BMI does not take lean body mass (muscle) into account. Some individuals with larger muscle mass may present as "obese" for this reason. BMI is a good initial indicator, but a full body composition analysis (measuring fat mass and lean mass separately) is more accurate.

Other clinical studies show that when looking at two groups, one that ate a certain amount of nuts and the other group that didn't, the group that ate nuts lost more weight.

Now, looking at the actual mechanisms that cause this are their affect on appetite, energy yield and energy expenditure.

The positive effects on appetite include suppression of hunger, suppression of desire to eat, and enhancement of fullness or reduced meal size. (Note: Hunger and desire to eat are two different things! Hunger is defined as the sensation to eat based on energy needs; whereas, desire to eat can occur without hunger and is based more on "wanting" to eat something rather than your body's need for food.)

Another idea behind nuts is dietary compensation. All this means is that nuts are so satisfying that you may eat less calories somewhere else in the day. This video does a great job in explaining a study where walnuts in a breakfast smoothie left that group feeling more satisfied than the other group that received a walnut flavored smoothie. Factors that contribute to this feeling of satiety include the macronutrient profile (amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), fatty acids, fiber, and energy content.

Now, on to energy expenditure. The most interesting point made on energy expenditure, and possibly of this whole presentation, was that eating nuts, especially peanuts, actually increased resting energy expenditure. The amount of Calories you burn at rest, or the energy needed to make your body "run" on a daily basis, is your resting metabolic rate (RMR). This number is based on age, height, weight, muscle mass and a few other factors. So, these studies claim that this rate actually increases in those that eat nuts allowing these individuals to burn more Calories throughout the day.

Absorption of the energy from nuts is also a factor in how many Calories you're actually getting from the nut. To put it simply, not all Calories/energy from nuts can be accessed because if you don't break down the nut enough while chewing, the stomach acid is not strong enough to break down the cells fully and some of the fat from nuts may actually pass through your system without being absorbed. So, in a sense, we get decreased appetite, increased satiety, and increased RMR while not even absorbing all of the Calories.

One last fun fact from this study. Most people don't get bored with eating nuts. There are some foods out there that just seem to be something we can't eat every day, we get sick of eating the same thing or it just doesn't taste as good after a while. Neurological and self-reported studies show that nuts may be one of those foods that is resistant to monotony. Even over a period over 12 weeks, nuts were still well-tolerated when consumed on a regular basis.

Of course, even though they are a great source of healthy fat, protein and even some carbohydrates, we can't just eat nuts all day. These studies go further to say that moderate nut consumption is ideal so stick to 1-2 oz. a day to take advantage of these effects.

As I mentioned before, please feel free to ask questions or even look more into the information yourself!

Have a happy Wednesday and enjoy the rest of your week!

 

Mattes, Rchard D., MPH, PhD, RD, and Cheryl Forberg, RD. "The Health Benefits of Tree Nuts: Focus on Weight Management." Today's Dietitian. 4 Feb. 2016. Web.


DISCLAIMER: This information is intended for educational purposes only. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am not a registered dietitian and the information I share may or may not be the best option for you. It is recommended to consult a physician, dietitian, and/or other health professional before starting any new physical activity and/or changing your diet. 

 

FitFriday #15: Let's Make it a Leg Day!

I say "leg day" and I know what always comes to mind... legday3

legday2

Source

But leg day is a good thing, something we definitely don't want to skip....

skip legs

Source

So today I'm providing you with a quick leg workout. Each set should only take about ten minutes, so choose how long you want to make your workout! I recommend doing 3 sets. Adjust reps as necessary.

at home leg workout

Exercise Breakdown

  • Reverse Lunges

Reverse Lunge

For a reverse lunge, you will start with your feet together. Step one foot back and bend your knees so that both legs make a 90 degree angle. Step back together and step the other foot back.

Keep the torso forward. If you wish you can raise your arms, as seen in the image above, or you can keep your arms at your side, even holding a set of dumbbells if you wish.

  • Sumo Squat

Sumo-Squats

Your starting position should be a wide stance, wider than your shoulders and toes facing turned outward. Squat down, making sure the knees are tracking directly over the toes and that the knees don't pass the toes. Stand up, squeezing the inner thighs and glutes as you come up.

If your knees do seem to be passing your toes in your lowest position, try using a wider stance.

You may hold a weight during this exercise to make it more difficult.

  • Deadlift

 deadlift

It is recommended that dumbbells are used in this exercise. If you are not yet confident in adding weight, that's okay too.

Start in a standing position, knees slightly bent, with your feet hip-width apart and weight in each hand. Keep the knees in the slightly bent position and lower yourself by bending at the hips. Keep your back flat. Bring the torso back up to the starting position, extending from the hips.

  • Side Lunge

Side Lunge

The starting position for a side lunge should be feet hip-width apart. Step one foot out to the side and bend that knee. Be sure that the knee tracks over the toes, and the knee does not pass the toes. Extend the bent leg and bring it back to the starting position, repeating this movement with the other leg.

If the knee passes the toes, stick your hips backwards more (like sitting in a chair).

Weight can be added to this exercise by holding a weight on each side of the knee, or holding the weight close to the chest.

  • Jump Squat

Jump-Squats

For a jump squat, start with the feet slightly more than hip-width apart. Perform a normal squat motion, sitting back into the heels. Bring your arms down to your sides. Power yourself up using your leg muscles and momentum from your arms to jump straight up. When you land, be sure to come back to that squat position to repeat the exercise. It is very important that you land with bent legs and your weight is in your heels.

  • Bridges

bridge

Laying on your back, with your feet planted on the floor and your arms by your sides, lift the hips towards the ceiling. You will be using your legs, glutes, and core to lift your hips as high as possible. Hold for a second or two at the top and then lower your hips to the ground. Don't forget to hold your last repetition for 45 seconds!

  • Wall Sit

wall sit 2

Find an empty wall in your house. Stand with your back against the wall and slowly start to walk your feet out lowering yourself into a squatting position. Your legs should be at a 90 degree angle. Try to hold this position for as long as you can, the goal is one minute!

Source for all exercise demonstration images.

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One of my new adventures involves online coaching for weekly workouts and eating habits. If you are interested in getting more information please e-mail me at abssofruitly.com. Also, check out my business Facebook page, Pursuit of Healthiness.

Happy Friday, and have a great weekend!