A recent study found that participants consuming 48 grams (approximately ½-cup) of walnuts in a smoothie were less hungry than participants consuming a smoothie with no walnuts. The no-walnut smoothies were made to taste like the walnut smoothies so neither participants or testers knew which group was receiving walnuts.
After five days of consuming daily smoothies, the walnut group showed activation in the area of the brain that triggers feelings of fullness and less hunger. Researchers also believe this area of the brain is also associated with cognitive control.
What is cognitive control? Cognitive control allows your mind to override impulses and helps you make decisions based on goals, rather than habits or knee-jerk reactions.
If we can eat foods that improve our ability to make decisions based on goals rather than impulse or habit, it means we have more control over food and feel less controlled by food.
The walnut-researchers are looking to conduct similar studies to examine how other foods and compounds, such as naturally-occurring hormones, impact the appetite-control centers in the brain.
Anytime we can exert control over food, it is a win for us.