Walnuts Control Your Mind to Help You Lose Weight

In All Health Watch, Diet and Nutrition, Featured Article, Weight Loss

If you’ve ever gone on a diet, you know why 95% of them fail.

It comes down to one word…hunger.1

You can cut calories for only so long until your brain revolts. It increases food cravings to the point where you can’t help but eat more.

Now, a new study finds that one food can control your mind to make it easier to get by on fewer calories. 2

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston recruited 10 obese volunteers to live in controlled housing. This gave scientists complete control over the subjects’ diets. They ate the same amount of calories throughout the study.

The participants were divided into two groups. One drank a smoothie every day for five days that contained 48 grams (almost 2 ounces) of crushed walnuts. The other group was given an identical smoothie without walnuts.

Then, after a buffer period of 30 days, they again were given smoothies for five straight days. But this time the subjects who previously got walnut smoothies were given those without, and vice versa. The participants were not told what was in the drinks.

At the end of each five-day period, the subjects were given brain scans while being shown pictures of highly desirable foods like hamburgers and desserts. They were also asked to rate their levels of hunger.

After drinking the walnut smoothies, the subjects reported feeling less hunger. The brain scans revealed why.

The part of the brain called the right insula was more active after they ate walnuts. The right insula is responsible for making you feel full, impulse control, and making judgements. When that part of the brain is active, you are less hungry and you make better decisions about food.

After the placebo smoothie period, the insula showed no increased activity.

Dr. Christos Mantzoros led the study. He is a professor at Harvard Medical School.

“This is a powerful measure,” Dr. Mantzoros said. “We know there’s no ambiguity in terms of study results. When participants eat walnuts, this part of their brain lights up, and we know that’s connected with what they are telling us about feeling less hungry or more full.”3

The study recently was published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. It concluded: “Eating walnuts may act at the level of the insula to alter food intake in obese participants.”4

 3 More Ways Walnuts Improve Your Health

We’ve touted the health benefits of walnuts for years. Weight loss is just the beginning:

  • They activate genes that reduce fat storage. They also improve insulin metabolism.5
  • They boost heart health. One study found that men who get 30% of their dietary fat from walnuts lowered their bad cholesterol by 10% in one month.6
  • They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep your brain sharp as you age.7

The amount of walnuts used in the study is a little less than half a cup. Eat this amount every day as between-meal snack. But opt for raw, organic walnuts. Their high oil content causes them to easily absorb pesticides.8

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1 http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/11/17/no-95-percent-of-people-dont-fail-their-diets
2 https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-nutshell-walnuts-brain-region-involved.html
3 https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-08-nutshell-walnuts-brain-region-involved.html
4 https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-07-walnuts-insula-highly-desirable-food.html#nRlv
5 https://www.institutefornaturalhealing.com/2016/02/the-5-foods-you-need-for-easy-weight-loss/
6 https://www.institutefornaturalhealing.com/2015/04/friday-five-the-most-healthful-nuts-you-can-eat/
7 http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=99
8 http://www.worldwellnesseducation.org/nuts-and-seeds/