Study in a Sentence: In a well-controlled clinical trial with 10 obese adult volunteers, researchers found that daily consumption of 48 grams of walnuts in a smoothie for five days led to a subjective decrease in appetite correlated with activation of the region in the brain regulating food cravings as shown on functional magnetic resonance imaging. Relative to patients drinking a similarly flavored smoothie without walnuts, patients consuming the walnuts felt fuller and more inclined to make healthier food choices.
Healthy for Humans: The study suggests that promoting walnut consumption can be a potential public health strategy to curb obesity. The study can be adopted to test other foods and compounds for reducing obesity.
Redefining Research: This study demonstrated a human-relevant method to test treatments for human diseases in a well-controlled manner that can rapidly be translated into public health strategies without the use of animal models.
Farr OM, Tuccinardi D, Upadhyay J, Oussaada SM, Mantzoros CS. Walnut consumption increases activation of the insula to highly desirable food cues: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over fMRI study. Diabetes Obes Metab. Published online July 17, 2017. doi: 10.1111/dom.13060.