Do walnuts make you fat or support weight loss?

A handful of walnuts a day, as part of a well-balanced diet, is good for weight loss. Walnuts improve body composition, help burn belly fat, promote satiety, and control energy intake. Overconsumption of walnuts can make you fat, though, as they’re high in calories.

How many calories are in a handful of walnuts?

Walnuts are high in calories. They have 654 calories per 100g. A handful (7 whole walnuts) has 180 calories! That’s 9% of energy intake for a 2,000 calorie diet.[1]

Can walnuts make you fat?

As a rule of thumb, we have to consume fewer calories than we burn in order to lose weight. We should avoid consuming high amounts of calorie-dense foods like nuts.

However, nuts have certain benefits for weight loss. Their moderate consumption can actually be beneficial for maintaining a healthy body weight.

In fact, small portions of nuts, as part of a well-balanced diet, can improve Body Mass Index (BMI), help control body weight, and decrease the risk of obesity.[2,3]

According to a big 2020 meta-analysis study, published in “Advances in Nutrition” Journal by Oxford University Press, nut consumption did not result in changes in body weight, BMI, or waist circumference.[4]

Walnut consumption, in particular, can slightly increase body weight, BMI, fat mass. But, only if we consume more calories than we burn. If you eat walnuts without increasing energy intake, you can actually lose weight and even preserve lean mass.[5]

Why Are Walnuts Good for You?
Why Are Walnuts Good for You?

How many walnuts a day for weight gain?

Consuming more than 2 handfuls (14 whole walnuts) a day, without changing our diet habits, can make you fat. This amount contains 370 calories!

370 extra calories a day can make you gain 1 pound of fat in just 10 days. A pound of body fat contains approximately 3,500 calories. It doesn’t matter if calories come from healthy food

Benefits of eating walnuts for weight loss

Walnuts have a great nutritional value and many benefits for losing weight. Consuming reasonable amounts of walnuts is actually good for weight loss.

We don’t absorb all calories of walnuts

First, although walnuts are high in calories, we absorb only a small percentage of them. Many calories of walnuts are burnt during digestion or lost due to incomplete chewing.[5,6]

Moreover, the regular consumption of walnuts or other nuts may lead to elevated resting energy expenditure. In other words, we burn more calories due to increased basal metabolism.

Walnuts promote satiety

In addition, walnuts promote satiety, due to their high fiber and protein content. Foods high in water, fiber, and protein are the most filling.[7]

Furthermore, walnuts have a low glycemic index, as they’re low in net carbs.

Omega-3s in walnuts are good for weight loss

Most noteworthy, walnuts are among the richest foods in omega-3s. A handful of walnuts provides approximately 2.78 g of omega-3s!

Omega-3s are beneficial for weight loss and improved body composition. For instance, they’re involved in the synthesis of the leptin. This hormone regulates appetite and energy balance. Also, omega-3s may help obese people on a weight loss diet burn more belly fat.[8]

Minerals in walnuts support weight loss

Furthermore, walnuts are good for weight loss because they’re packed with minerals, which are involved in energy metabolism. Walnuts are excellent dietary sources of copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Are walnuts better for weight loss than other nuts?

Actually, all nuts have a great nutritional value. They’re particularly rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, and minerals.

However, each nut has a different nutritional value. For instance, almonds are particularly rich in vitamin E, Brazil nuts in selenium, and walnuts in omega-3s! You could eat a mixed handful of nuts a day, instead of walnuts. All nuts are good for weight loss if consumed in moderation.

How many walnuts a day for weight loss?

As walnuts are high-energy foods, we should be very cautious with portion sizes. As a rule of thumb, most people who follow a sedentary life and want to lose weight could eat a handful of walnuts a day as part of a well-balanced, hypocaloric diet. This amount has 185 calories. Only active people or athletes could eat higher amounts.

What’s the best time of the day to eat walnuts for weight loss?

The best time to eat walnuts for weight loss is between meals. Walnuts can control postprandial glycemic response. They don’t spike blood sugar levels. They’re an ideal snack to be consumed on an empty stomach.

Moreover, a great time to eat walnuts is before bed. Walnuts promote a good night’s sleep. People who sleep better at night have a lower risk of obesity.