Almonds could help you lose weight, study finds

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Contrary to popular belief that nuts might hinder weight loss due to their high-fat content, a new study from the University of South Australia has revealed that almonds can be a valuable addition to a weight loss diet.

This study, which stands as the largest of its kind, shows that incorporating almonds into a calorie-restricted diet not only aids in weight loss but also enhances heart health.

With over 1.9 billion adults worldwide grappling with being overweight, including 650 million suffering from obesity, and in Australia alone, two-thirds of the adult population facing similar issues, this finding could be a game changer in dietary approaches to weight management.

The research, spearheaded by UniSA’s Dr. Sharayah Carter, focused on understanding how almonds, despite being high in fats, could positively affect weight loss and cardiometabolic health.

The study compared the effects of diets supplemented with Californian almonds to those supplemented with carbohydrate-rich snacks.

Both diets were energy-restricted and resulted in a significant reduction in body weight, about 7 kilograms on average.

Dr. Carter highlights that almonds are a nutritious snack, rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The fat in almonds is mostly unsaturated – the healthy kind of fat.

This type of fat can improve blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and promote a healthy heart. The study aimed to assess whether an almond-supplemented diet had any distinct benefits over a nut-free diet in terms of weight and heart health.

The findings were promising: both diets led to a similar reduction in body weight, about 9.3% over the trial.

However, the almond-supplemented diet showed significant changes in certain lipoprotein subfractions, which are linked to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fats and cholesterol on artery walls.

This suggests that including almonds in a diet might improve cardiometabolic health in the long run.

An added advantage of nuts, as noted by Dr. Carter, is their ability to create a feeling of fullness. This is particularly beneficial for those looking to manage their weight, as it can help reduce overall calorie intake.

The study, funded by the Almond Board of California, involved 106 participants who followed a nine-month eating program. This program included a three-month energy-restricted diet for weight loss, followed by a six-month energy-controlled diet for weight maintenance.

In both phases, one group’s diet included unsalted whole almonds with skins, making up 15% of their energy intake, while the other group’s diet comprised 15% carbohydrate-rich snacks like rice crackers or baked cereal bars.

These findings from the University of South Australia are significant in the global fight against obesity and related health issues.

They provide a strong case for including almonds and possibly other nuts in weight loss diets, not just for reducing body weight but also for improving overall heart health.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about foods that could improve survival in Parkinson’s disease, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduce cancer death.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about plant nutrient that could help reduce high blood pressure, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

The research findings can be found in JCI Insight.

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