The nutty diet and its effects on weight loss!

So, I’ve done this nutty diet a while ago(more precisely, 3 years ago), this was before my ‘health epiphany'(more on this here: http://obsessivenutritioncompulsive.wordpress.com/about/) which meant that back then, I had very little clue on food and nutrition.

As a result, I had pretty badly constructed diets for weight loss(after all, I was only a clueless teenager). One of them was my ‘nutty’ diet where: I omitted carbs from my diet(or a tiny bit), ate smaller meals(half of normal), made up most of my calories from eating nuts after meals and drunk 3-4 cups of soy milk as ‘snacks drinks’ on most days.

My nuts mix mostly included almonds

a few cashew nuts.

Sometimes I’d have a feast of about 3/4 cup of peanuts or pistachios.

and the Cranberry Nut Medley

(Roasted almonds, cashew nuts, cranberry which I wouldn’t touch but force some of my family members i.e. mum and bro to eliminate. Evil)

I was basically crazy about nuts and had no idea how high in fat they were. I just thought they were these healthy… food things. I was very nutritionally naive. I filled up on nuts instead of food. I’d say one of my serving of nuts (after a meal) would equal to around 400 calories.

RESULTS:

Despite binging restlessly, and cluelessly on nuts, my 51 kg weight amazingly DID NOT alter whatsoever. I’m quite pleasantly surprised looking back, considering I ate about 2 handfuls of nuts after every meal even after dinner(that’s around 6 handfuls of nuts everyday! WAY beyond the recommended level. Now, I only limit my nuts intake to around a handful each day. Remember, nuts are near the very top of the food pyramid, therefore, only about a handful a day) and about 5 cups of ‘original’ soy milk, which is a high calorie drink(around 120 calories per serve for not low-fat ones) everyday on top of the normal 3 meals a day. I also did pathetic light exercises along with this i.e. 30 sit-ups, walking up and down the house’s stairs 45 times, everyday, which obviously wouldn’t have helped burn much of the calories from the nuts.

(This was the soy milk brand I drank. Aussie organic soy. It had pearl barley juice and a bit of cane sugar in it as well; soy milk they say.. Nevertheless, tasted so deliciously creamy. I don’t usually go for light because fat is needed in your body’s consumption of calcium i.e. calcium is fat soluble. Have to grit my teeth for this exception)

ANALYSIS + WHY DIDN’T I GAIN AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF WEIGHT?:

Two handful of nuts three times a day would mean 1,200 calories. Including my soy milk binges would total(+500 calories) to 1.700 calories. Including my halved meal intakes(I’d say around 800 calories) we’d have a total of 2,500 calories! When the recommended intake maximum for a female(even an active one) is 2000 calories. Therefore in theory, I should have been gaining weight but I didn’t. Why?

3 years ago, I had done some research on peanuts and found studies that named peanuts, weight loss aids and reducer of heart diseases risks. I recently found a similar peanuts study on this website http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/4040.php ;

In the second trial, individuals consumed their regular diet and added 500 calories of peanuts, which boosted total caloric intake. In the third treatment, individuals were allowed to incorporate peanuts in their diets in any way they chose. 

In all three groups, subjects’ triglyceride level – a risk factor for cardiovascular disease – was lowered significantly. 

‘We have learned that regular peanut consumption lowers triglyceride levels by as much as 24 percent – even in the group where peanuts were added to regular dietary intake,’ Mattes said. ‘We also saw no significant change in body weight, despite adding 500 calories of peanuts a day for eight weeks

‘Of course, we want to know where those calories went. There are three possible answers to that question.’ 

The first is that peanuts have a high satiety value, and that feeling of being full reduces the amount a person eats. Mattes said this accounts for the largest portion of missing calories. 

The second possibility is that the peanuts trigger an increase in people’s resting metabolic rate. The third explanation is that people don’t chew nuts well, so people’s bodies fail to absorb a portion of nuts’ caloric energy. 

Here are my takes:

1. The third explanation sounded a bit bologna to me. It’s a bit far fetched to think that if the nuts were not ground completely to dust between your teeth, they will not digest through your tracts. Come on, stomach acids aren’t that ineffective. However, I believe the amount of nuts I ate did result in a significant decrease in meal consumption. So, I’m guessing the amount of meals I ate may have been smaller than I had illustrated.

2. The assumption that the peanuts had increased metabolic rates could also be true. This would be the only remaining explanation on my amazing non-weight gain. I have backings for this:

According to http://www.healthywomen.org/content/blog-entry/5-reasons-you-can-lose-weight-peanuts

Peanuts can increase your metabolic rate. When researchers studied resting energy expenditure on peanut and peanut butter eaters, they found that it was 11 percent greater after regular peanut consumption for 19 weeks compared to the baseline.

Basically, shown by this experiment, a bunch of people’s metabolism rates unintelligibly increased from peanuts consumption!

And from http://www.today.com/id/23547010/ns/today-today_health/t/ways-boost-your-metabolism/#.UgyWi5L42uI

Magnesium is a mineral needed by every cell in your body and is used in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including proper muscle, nerve and heart function, protein synthesis and energy metabolism.

Boost your intake of high magnesium foods to give your metabolism a boost. Go green with your vegetables. Green vegetables such as spinach provide magnesium because the center of the chlorophyll molecule contains magnesium. Other excellent sources of magnesium include: halibut, nuts such as almonds, cashews and peanuts, soybeans (edamame), whole-grain cereals, oatmeal, and legumes such as black-eyed peas and lentils.

which also explains the benefit in weight control by my soy milk intakes.

(Magnesium rich foods; mostly legumes and dark leafy greens)

So in conclusion, although many of you may be crapless scared of excessive nuts consumption because of their high calorie contents, this diet of mine has shown that eating more than a handful of nuts a day have little effect on your weight. In fact, nuts are very high in fiber, fat, all of which keeps you full for longer and as a bonus can lower your blood glucose levels(i.e. low GI). They may boost your metabolism and most importantly are packed full of great nutrients, vitamins, some of which may only be found in meat products i.e. vitamin B, making nuts must-haves for plant eaters.

Although nuts are very nutrient dense, intakes of the normal portions of food i.e. food pyramid format is still very important, so try not to binge on nuts like I had done. After a long enough period, I’m sure you’d start to have some mental/physical break down(Although I’d never carried out the diet long enough i.e. only about 3-4 weeks) Too much of anything is never good for you(even something feeble and seemingly weak like vegetables. Carrots overdose!). Moderation is the key. Moderation for your consideration.

Alright, enough with the cliche health notes everybody already knows, if you’re still pretty persistent about eating lots of nuts, binge on these;

Nuts/seeds with lowest fat contents (Per 100 g)

Chestnuts – 56 calories

*Peanuts – 318 calories

Pumpkin/squash seeds – 446 calories

Flaxseeds – 534 calories

Cashews – 553 calories

Pistachios – 557 calories

Almonds – 575 calories

*Peanuts are actually legumes. Oxymoron in the name; ‘pea’ and ‘nut’.