Almonds: A Good Snack for Nutrition and Weight Loss

Almonds are my number one snack food.  I eat them every morning for a little extra post-workout recovery protein and in the afternoon to curb my appetite until dinner.  I always knew that almonds were loaded with fiber and nutrition, but now a new study released shows that they also reduce hunger and that eating them on a regular basis poses little risk for weight gain.

Almonds

Researchers at Purdue University that wanted to learn what impact snacking on almonds had on hunger and weight gain took 137 adults who were at risk for type 2 diabetes and divided them into five groups:

  • One group avoided all nuts and seeds.
  • A second group ate 1.5 ounces of almonds with breakfast each day.
  • A third group ate 1.5 ounces with lunch each day.
  • The fourth group ate 1.5 ounces of almonds as morning snack.
  • A fifth group ate the same amount as an afternoon snack.

The participants were not on any calorie or food restrictions or given any other dietary guidelines to follow.  They were expected to follow their usual eating pattern. The almonds provided the participants with about 250 calories per day.

At the end of the four week study the results showed that despite the increase in calories from the almonds, the participants did not increase the total number of calories they ate and drank over the course of the day and they did not gain weight.

Researchers concluded that almonds are a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight.  One of the lead researchers, Richard Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD, distinguished professor of nutrition science at Purdue University and the study’s principal investigator said, “In this study, participants compensated for the additional calories provided by the almonds so daily energy intake did not rise and reported reduced hunger levels and desire to eat at subsequent meals, particularly when almonds were consumed as a snack.”

Health Benefits of Almonds

Not only do almonds fill you up and keep you from nibbling on other snacks throughout the day, they also contain a significant quantity of several nutrients.  One quarter cup of almonds supplies 45% daily value of manganese; 44.8% of vitamin E; 24.6% of magnesium; 21.8% of tryptophan; 257 mg of potassium, 6 grams of fiber and a little over 200 calories.

Almonds are also known to lower LDL cholesterol, reduce the risk for heart disease, and decrease the after-meal rises in blood sugar.  A study on 9 healthy volunteers that were fed high glycemic meals showed that eating almonds with the meal reduced the rise in the subjects’ blood sugar.  The more almonds the volunteers ate, the less their blood sugar’s rose indicating they are a factor in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

All of the research showing that almonds are a superfood and power houses of nutrition reassures me that my daily almond habit isn’t one that I need to try and break.  For that I’m grateful.

And almonds aren’t just great for snacking.  Slivered almonds are delicious in salads, vegetable dishes, and Greek yogurt.  Add them to cereal, oatmeal and rice for a nutty taste.

Your Turn

Are you an almond lover or is there another nut that keeps you satisfied between meals?

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