Full disclosure, I never liked packing nuts into my diet because I’m a volume consumer. In other words, I’d rather eat an enormous salad than a small bar. Nutritional experts widely tout nuts as the snack you should always have on hand. Nuts are jam-packed with nutrients, vitamins, unsaturated fats, and protein to stave off hunger. I just never fully invested in them because they’re pretty calorie-dense, so I’d have to confine my snack to a handful.

I turned 30 a few years ago and noticed my metabolism took a significant nosedive. Instead of ramping up the cardio-heavy gym sessions, however, I decided to pick up some weights and nourish my body with protein-heavy meals and snacks. Nuts became my go-to snacks to ensure I stay satisfied between meals. And recently, a study published in the online journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health further confirmed its benefits.

This Study is Nuts

Researchers in the study suggest that just half a serving of nuts a day contributes to staving off weight gain due to the aging process. They analyzed the weight, diet, and physical activity of 289,915 participants (split into three groups) over more than 20 years, explicitly asking how often they ate a serving of nuts over the previous year.

Between 1986 and 2011, daily nut consumption slowly rose across all three groups. The average annual weight gain across all three came at 0.71 lb, 30% less than the average 1lb a year in the US.

Overall, increasing any nut consumption correlated with less long-term weight gain while increasing nut consumption by half a serving a day lowered the chances of permanently putting on more than 4 lbs in four years.

Incorporate it In Your Diet

The researchers also concluded that the sheer effort it takes to chew and consume nuts makes a person less likely to reach for another snack. I’ve got one better for you, though. I recently came across a brand called Nutsola, which also gives you the ability to make nut-based energy bars at home. Basically, you can make your own KIND bars without all the extra sugar.

They’re completely natural, all ingredients are straightforward without any preservative, they deliver your serving of nuts, and you can have fun making them. I tried out the Pumpkin Spice and Peanut Butter flavors at home, making 14 bars from each package. The brand sells a mold along with the nut bar mix, helping you portion out your daily nut serving.

Although the process is quick (you press the mix into the mold and place it on the silicone mat), I appreciate the extra calories burned prepping my bars for the week. It adds a little extra fun when I’m feeling fancy. On other days, I grab a handful between tasks.

What’s important is you find a routine that works for you. Sticking to a nutritionally-supported snacking and meal schedule is your best bet in achieving weight loss. Science doesn’t lie.