A new study shows that those who consumed more nuts were less likely to become overweight or obese than those who did not.

There’s a long-standing and often-debated concern in the healthcare industry where professionals are critical of a wide range of nuts, given that some varieties of the energy-packed snack can provide up to 200 calories in a single serving.

Over the last decade, especially, nut-based products have flooded the wellness and nutrition-based market, multiplying tenfold in snack options but also as an alternative to grains, flour, and dairy-free milk options. If you’re avid about your nuts, nutritionists and health care providers alike might share their concerns with you, especially given those who consume high-calorie meals regularly could theoretically slip into uncontrolled weight gain with an increased presence of nuts in their diet. 

But there’s a new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition that might finally put this argument to bed

Credit: Photo by Juan José Valencia Antía via Unsplash

The team of scientists behind the study have found that nut consumption is directly correlated to less weight gain over time, after closely studying a group of participants over a five-year period. More than 373,000 Europeans from 10 countries across the continent were examined closely to look at nut intake and weight gain or loss overall. 

The average weight gain for the study's participants was nearly five pounds over those five years – but those who ate more nuts than others put on the least amount of weight. They were also 5 percent less likely to become overweight or obese in the future, the researchers found.

The health craze for nuts and nut-based alternatives began in 2003 when the Food and Drug Administration published claims that tree nut consumption can reduce heart disease risk. But these findings could only help to flood the market with an increased availability to what many are marketing as ultra "healthy" nut-based products, given that the FDA recently updated it's definition of "healthy" in 2015 to include foods like almonds. 

Just this month, snack producer Royal Hawaiian Orchards got the OK to label their macadamia nut snack mix as "healthy" after petitioning the FDA with the claim that macadamia nuts can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The FDA has previously gave the green light for producers to label products containing walnuts, almonds, and pistachios as "healthy" as well.