Dieters often dismiss them because of their high fat content, but research suggests that snacking on nuts can help keep you slim. A study found that those who consumed varieties such as almonds, cashews and pistachios demonstrated a lower body weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference compared to non-consumers. They were also at lower risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Experts are now recommending a daily intake of 1.5 ounces, or three tablespoons of nuts as part of a healthy diet. Lead researcher Carol O'Neil, from Louisiana State University, said: '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 non-consumers. 'The mean weight, BMI, and waist circumference were 4.19 pounds, 0.9kg/m2 and 0.83 inches lower in consumers than non-consumers, respectively.' In the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers compared risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome of nut consumers versus those who did not consume nuts.