Nut consumption, weight gain and obesity: Epidemiological evidence

Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2011 Jun;21 Suppl 1:S40-5. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2010.11.005. Epub 2011 Jan 8.


Background and aims: Short-term trials support that adding tree nuts or peanuts to usual diets does not induce weight gain. We reviewed the available epidemiological evidence on long-term nut consumption and body weight changes. We also report new results from the SUN ("Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra") cohort.

Methods and results: Published epidemiologic studies with ≥1-yr follow-up were located. Two published reports from large cohorts (SUN and Nurses Health Study-2) showed inverse associations between frequency of nut consumption and long-term weight changes. A beneficial effect of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with tree nuts on waist circumference was reported after 1-yr follow-up in the first 1224 high-risk participants in the PREDIMED ("PREvencion DIeta MEDiterranea") trial. After assessing 11,895 participants of the SUN cohort, a borderline significant (p value for trend = 0.09) inverse association between baseline nut consumption and average yearly weight gain (multivariate-adjusted means = 0.32 kg/yr (95% confidence interval: 0.22-0.42) and 0.24 (0.11-0.37) kg/yr for participants with no consumption and >4 servings/week, respectively) was found after a 6-yr follow-up.

Conclusions: Consumption of nuts was not associated with a higher risk of weight gain in long-term epidemiologic studies and clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Humans
  • Nuts*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Waist Circumference
  • Weight Gain*