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Are Pecans the Perfect Weight-Loss Snack?

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
Pecans can be a great weight loss snack

Raw or roasted, pecans are one of the best foods for supporting a healthy body weight. They’re an incredible, nutrient-dense food that satisfies your hunger, keeps calories low, and stimulates your metabolism. Pecans also supply protein, antioxidants, and more than 19 vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium. As a weight-loss snack, they simply can’t be beat!

The Nuts Paradox

For years, the medical authorities warned against eating nuts because of their high fat and energy content. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted, "nuts are a high-fat, energy-dense food, but the evidence indicates that they pose little challenge to and may even aid weight management." [1] This apparent contradiction is commonly called the “nuts paradox.”

It turns out, when it comes to your weight, pecans are one of the best foods you can eat. These tasty nuts contain high amounts of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, commonly called PUFAs. The research shows people who get a lot of these PUFAs tend to have lower body weight. A review of 31 studies found people who ate nuts regularly had slimmer waists and had an easier time keeping weight off. [2]

Pecans: Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss

In even a snack size serving of pecans, you get a big dose of important minerals like calcium and potassium and essential vitamins like C, A, and the B-complex that supports energy. But it’s the vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium in pecans that help with weight loss.

Together, vitamin E and vitamin K build red blood cells that increase oxygen availability to your cells and increases metabolism. Vitamin E also helps build muscle, and by replacing muscle more efficiently, your muscles work better and you increase your lean muscle mass. A study involving 246 participants found those with higher vitamin E levels had less abdominal obesity. [3]

Zinc improves the way you use and metabolize sugar. [4] This prevents fat buildup and keeps the pounds off. Plus, zinc supports your immune system and wound healing.

And magnesium contributes to more than 300 different metabolic functions throughout your body. It plays a role in how quickly your body converts glucose into energy. In this way, it creates more energy and keeps your blood sugar low. Studies have found people who increase their magnesium lose weight faster and have a more active metabolism that helps maintain a healthy weight.

Antioxidant Properties in Organic Pecans

Out of 277 foods and nuts tested for antioxidant value by the USDA, pecans rank #1. These antioxidants keep your cells safe from free radicals that would disrupt the systems that regulate your metabolism. The powerful antioxidant beta-sitosterol makes up 90% of the antioxidants in pecans.

Vitamin E also plays a role. In addition to its role in metabolism, it’s also a powerful antioxidant. Two of the eight different forms of vitamin E, the alpha- and gamma-tocopherol found in pecans, also act as antioxidants and clear the blood of dangerous free radicals.

What Can a Handful of Nuts Do for You?

As reported in both the Harvard Gazette and the New England Journal of Medicine, nut eaters are more slender. [5]

Pecans contain protein and fatty acids that make you feel full while supplying you with rich nutrients. And on top of that, you get vitamins and minerals that help regulate blood sugar and stimulate your metabolism. If you want to take full advantage of all the benefits of eating pecans is best to consume organic pecans.

References (5)
  1. Sze Yen Tan, Jaapna Dhillon, and Richard D Mattes. A review of the effects of nuts on appetite, food intake, metabolism, and body weight. Am J Clin Nutr July 2014. doi: 10.3945/?ajcn.113.071456.
  2. Gemma Flores-Mateo, David Rojas-Rueda, Josep Basora, Emilio Ros, and Jordi Salas-Salvadó. Nut intake and adiposity: meta-analysis of clinical trials. Am J Clin Nutr ajcn.031484. doi: 10.3945/?ajcn.111.031484.
  3. Mansego ML1,2, De Marco G3,4, Ivorra C5,6, Lopez-Izquierdo R7, Morcillo S8,9, Rojo-Martínez G10,11, González-Albert V12, Martinez F13,14, Soriguer F15,16, Martín-Escudero JC17, Redon J18,19, Chaves FJ20,21. The nutrigenetic influence of the interaction between dietary vitamin E and TXN and COMT gene polymorphisms on waist circumference: a case control study. J Transl Med. 2015 Sep 2;13:286. doi: 10.1186/s12967-015-0652-4.
  4. Payahoo L, Ostadrahimi A, Mobasseri M, et al. Effects of Zinc Supplementation on the Anthropometric Measurements, Lipid Profiles and Fasting Blood Glucose in the Healthy Obese Adults. Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 2013;3(1):161-165. doi:10.5681/apb.2013.027.
  5. Harvard Gazette. Nut consumption reduces risk of death. Harvard Gazette.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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