Objective: To assess the association, in a Mediterranean population, between nut consumption and risk of weight gain (at least 5 kg) or the risk of becoming overweight/obese.
Research methods and procedures: The Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra project is a prospective cohort of 8865 adult men and women who completed a follow-up questionnaire after a median of 28 months. Dietary habits were assessed with a previously validated semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire.
Results: Nine hundred thirty-seven participants reported a weight gain of > or =5 kg at follow-up. After adjusting for age, sex, smoking, leisure time physical activity, and other known risk factors for obesity, participants who ate nuts two or more times per week had a significantly lower risk of weight gain (odds ratio: 0.69; 95% confidence interval: 0.53 to 0.90, p for trend = 0.006) than those who never or almost never ate nuts. Participants with little nut consumption (never/almost never) gained an average of 424 grams (95% confidence interval: 102 to 746) more than frequent nut eaters. Nut consumption was not significantly associated with incident overweight/obesity in the cohort.
Discussion: Frequent nut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of weight gain (5 kg or more). These results support the recommendation of nut consumption as an important component of a cardioprotective diet and also allay fears of possible weight gain.