Nuts, especially almonds, despite being recognized for their high protein, fiber, and vital nutrients, have often been approached with caution by those looking to lose weight due to their high-fat content.
However, recent research from the University of South Australia unfolds a different narrative, suggesting that almonds can be a part of a weight loss journey, providing not only a reduction in weight but also fostering cardiometabolic health.
Published in the journal Obesity, this research becomes a notable mention in the realm of dietary sciences.
A Crunchy Contribution to Weight Loss
The study, proclaimed as the largest of its kind, revolved around investigating the effects of incorporating almonds into an energy-restricted diet.
It pitted diets supplemented with Californian almonds against diets incorporating carbohydrate-rich snacks. The astounding result was that both diet types resulted in a body weight reduction of about 7kg.
Dr. Sharayah Carter, a researcher at UniSA, emphasizes that the study sheds light on how nuts, particularly almonds, can bolster a diet meant for weight management and enhancement of cardiometabolic health.
Despite their high fat content, which commonly links to increased body weight, nuts carry a type of unsaturated— or healthy—fats.
These beneficial fats have been associated with improved blood cholesterol levels, reduced inflammation, and subsequently, a healthier heart.
A Closer Look at the Almond-Enhanced Diet
The study meticulously examined the implications of an almond-supplemented diet versus a nut-free diet, aiming to pinpoint any specific influences on weight and cardiometabolic outcomes.
Astonishingly, both diets led to approximately a 9.3% reduction in body weight over the duration of the trial.
Dr. Carter elucidates that almond-supplemented diets showcased statistically significant changes in some highly atherogenic lipoprotein subfractions.
These changes hint towards a potential for improved cardiometabolic health over a more extended period.
Moreover, the feeling of fullness provided by nuts stands out as a crucial advantage for those managing their weight, staving off the temptation to indulge in-between meals.
The Study’s Framework
Engaging 106 participants, the study conducted a nine-month eating program, consisting of a three-month energy-restricted diet for weight loss, followed by a six-month energy-controlled diet aimed at weight maintenance.
In both phases, the energy intake for participants was defined to include unsalted whole almonds with skins (for the nut diet) or 15% carbohydrate-rich snacks—like rice crackers or baked cereal bars (for the nut-free diet).
The findings from the study offer additional evidence in favor of dietitians and nutritionists recommending almonds as part of a balanced weight loss diet.
Final Thoughts: A Paradigm Shift in Weight Management
The results of this study signify a potential paradigm shift in how we perceive almonds and potentially other nuts in the context of weight management and overall health.
The nutritional components of almonds, including healthy fats, not only facilitate weight loss when part of an energy-restricted diet but also pave the way towards improved cardiometabolic health.
This stands in contrast to the traditional perspective of nuts being counterproductive to weight management endeavors due to their high-fat content.
Moreover, the sense of satiety provided by almonds may also reduce the urge for unhealthy snacking, thereby indirectly assisting in weight management.
Thus, while it’s essential to be mindful of portion sizes when consuming nuts due to their calorie content, almonds can indeed be considered a heart-healthy, weight-friendly snack, substantiated by this comprehensive research.
For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about vitamin that may protect you from type 2 diabetes, and results showing this common chemical in food may harm your blood pressure.
The research findings can be found in Obesity.
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