Substituting unhealthy foods, such as processed meats, French fries, and crisps (potato chips) with a half a serving of nuts may be a simple strategy to ward off the gradual weight gain that often accompanies the aging process, suggest the researchers.
On average, US adults pile on 1lb or nearly half a kilo every year. Gaining 2.5-10 kilos in weight is linked to a significantly greater risk of heart disease/stroke and diabetes.
Nuts are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre, but they are calorie dense, so often not thought of as good for weight control. But emerging evidence suggests that the quality of what’s eaten may be as important as the quantity.
Having seen first hand the devastation that the fats from meat can do in the form of clogged arteries, I rely on nuts and seeds for the bulk of my protein needs. What about raw vs. roasted nuts?
Tufts Health and Nutrition Update offers the following answer:
“When one looks at the nutrients gram for gram, raw and roasted nuts are essentially equivalent,” says Helen Rasmussen, PhD, RD, senior research dietitian in the Metabolic Research Unit at Tufts’ Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. “Nuts are roasted to enhance taste, aroma, and texture (crunchiness). Nuts that are sold as ‘raw’ have not been roasted, although harvested nuts that are in their shell may still have heat applied to separate the shell from the nut. When heat is applied to any food there can be a change in the composition of that food. With nuts, the difference is largely attributable to loss of water.”
“Nuts are known for the health properties of their fat composition, which is changed only minimally by roasting. One ounce of roasted almonds, for example, has 0.4 grams more monounsaturated fat than raw nuts, and an almost negligible change in saturated and polyunsaturated fat levels. It also has 6 more calories than the same weight of raw almonds. Raw nuts have a slight edge over roasted nuts in dietary fiber (0.5 grams more per ounce).”
“Consumers should be aware that raw nuts have at times been associated with a risk of food poisoning from salmonella, e-coli, or other microbes.”