"One of the more interesting findings was the fact that tree nut consumers had lower body weight, as well as lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference compared to nonconsumers," said Carol O'Neil, professor at Louisiana State University Agricultural Centre, who led the study.
The study looked at 13,292 men and women (over 19 years) participating in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported.
Intake was from 24-hour recall data and tree nut consumers were defined as those who consumed a fourth of an ounce daily.
Tree nuts comprise almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts, said a university statement.
Nuts were also linked with a five percent lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome, a name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
In addition, tree nut consumers had a lower prevalence of four risk factors for metabolic syndrome: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high fasting glucose (blood sugar) levels and low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels.