We already know that walnuts are chockfull of nutrients that are tied to better health. Now, a new study published online in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism has demonstrated that eating walnuts activates an area in your brain associated with regulating hunger and cravings. It concluded that walnuts are one of the top weight loss foods.
To reach these findings, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the United States revealed that, looked at the neurocognitive impact that walnuts have on your brain. This is the first study to look at this interesting link. Keep reading for the full story…
Study reveals that walnuts are one of the top weight loss foods…
To determine exactly how walnuts curb cravings, the study’s first author, Olivia M Farr, and her team of colleagues used functional resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe how eating walnuts changes activity in the brain.
The team recruited 10 people with obesity
to stay in BIDMC’s Clinical Research Center (CRC) for two five-day sessions. Instead of relying on the people to record what they ate like most studies do, the team kept tabs on their exact nutritional intake.
During the one five-day session, the people drank smoothies that contained 48 g walnuts – the serving recommended by the American Diabetes
Association dietary guidelines – every day. During the second stay, they drank walnut-free but nutritionally comparable placebo smoothies that were flavoured to taste exactly the same as the smoothies with walnuts.
The order of the two sessions was random or, in other words, some people drank the walnut smoothie first and others drank the placebo smoothie first. Neither the researchers nor the volunteers knew which session they’d drink the walnut smoothie in.
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Walnuts promote weight loss by making you pay attention to food choices
The team found that people reported feeling less hungry during the week they drank the walnut smoothies than during the week they drank the placebo smoothies. The fMRI tests that the researchers administered on the fifth day of the experiment explained exactly why…
While in the machine, the researchers showed each person images of desirable foods such as desserts and burgers, less desirable foods such as vegetables, and neutral objects like flowers and rocks. They found that when they showed a person the images of desirable foods, there was increased activity in a part of their brain called the right insula during the week that they consumed the five-day walnut-rich diet compared to the week that they didn’t.
The insula is involved in cognitive control and salience, meaning that people were paying more attention to food choices and choosing the healthier options over less healthy options. The team concluded that that this experiment will also allow them to test other compounds for their effect on this part of the brain.
In a nutshell, that’s why walnuts are one of the best weight loss foods!
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