TrimDownClub, January 12, 2013
New research shows that although almonds contain a lot of fat, they won’t interfere with weight loss if incorporated into a healthy, balanced diet. Furthermore, almonds may be beneficial in stabilizing your cholesterol levels.
Almonds are much more than just a snack. Those of you on a strict diet know how hard it is to avoid snacks for long, and snacks such as nuts and almonds are usually thought of as prohibited because of their high fat content. According to research recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this is a mistake: other than their being healthy, almonds don’t have to damage weight loss efforts.
In this study, 123 participants with a certain degree of overweight and on a diet restricting their calorie intake were followed for 18 months; women consumed a basal diet yielding 1200-1500 calories per day, men 1500-1800 calories per day. The participants were divided into two random groups: one group abstained from eating any kind of almonds or nuts, and the second group was allowed to have 2 packages of almonds weighing 28 grams each (1 ounce, about 24 almonds per package) per day.
The almonds did not prevent weight loss
After six months, the group members who did not eat almonds lost a little more body weight than the group members who had almonds – 7.2 kg (15.9 lbs) compared to 5.4 kg (11.9 lbs), on average. However, after 18 months, there was no clear difference in total weight loss between the groups.
In addition, almond consumption was accompanied by health benefits. Previous research suggested that almonds can play a part in reducing risk factors for heart disease; therefore, the researchers in this study expected to see a certain improvement in among participants consuming almonds. And indeed, six months into the study, cholesterol levels among those who received almonds dropped significantly compared to those in the control group. After 18 months, the cholesterol levels increased in both groups – though remaining lower than 200 mg/dL– but were still slightly lower in the group that consumed almonds.
Almonds are especially rich in magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and n-9 monounsaturated fatty acids – “good” fats – and are a very good source of fiber and calcium. All of these nutrients are particularly supportive of heart health, which is a top concern in overweight and obesity. According to the researchers, you can combine almonds in weight loss programs, and expect to lose weight with the added positive influence on cholesterol and blood fat levels.
You should remember that almonds by themselves don’t bring about weight loss, and should be consumed in moderation like any other rich food. However, they – and other similarly beneficial nuts, such as hazelnuts and walnuts – are not on the list of foods to avoid, and can be combined effectively in nutritionally sound diet programs.