A few almonds a day could keep the weight away. A new study found that individuals who ate 1.5 ounces of almonds every day reported reduced hunger and ate less throughout the day.
Snacking too much may contribute to overeating in many people. Women normally take in about 400 calories a day in snacks and men consume nearly 600 calories. While eating several small meals throughout the day is an effective method for weight loss and maintenance, the reality is that most people consume three large meals every day. That means eating an entire meals’ worth of calories in snacks alone may contribute to weight gain in some individuals.
To see how to help people snack more wisely, researchers from Purdue University recruited 137 patients with a risk of type 2 diabetes to participate in a study on the health effects of daily almond consumption. They asked half of the group to consume 1.5 ounces (43 grams) of almonds with their breakfast, lunch, morning snack, or afternoon snack. The other half did not eat almonds at all.
People who ate almonds had reduced hunger throughout the day and during acute-feeding sessions. Although they were eating 250 calories in almonds, they tended to compensate for this by eating less at other times during the day. They also did not gain weight during the 4-week study, suggesting that almonds may be beneficial for avoiding weight gain.
The power of almonds to stave off hunger likely comes from a variety of factors, according to Richard Mattes, a nutrition science professor at Purdue University. The protein, fat, and fiber help to satiate hunger while the lower carbohydrate count doesn’t stimulate the appetite.
Other nuts probably have similar benefits, but this research was funded by the almond industry, according to NPR. Mattes told NPR that industry funding for studies is becoming more common as government funds dry up. Still he said the study is conducted by independent researchers and checked by peer reviewers prior to publishing.
Aubrey, Allison. Almonds for skinny snackers? Yes, they help curb your appetite. NPR. October 24, 2013.
Tan, S.Y. and Mattes, R.D. Appetitive, dietary, and healthy effects of almonds consumed with meal or as snacks a randomized, controlled trial. European Journal of Clinical Nutirtion 2013; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.184.