Despite what we’ve been told, almonds can help individuals lose weight and stay fit.
According to a recent study, introducing almonds into a well-balanced diet has many benefits for overall health and wellbeing. It goes against what most people understand about weight loss, yet it could have a major impact.
Researchers from University of South Australia discovered that when almonds are included in energy restricted diets, Aussies lose weight and increase their cardiometabolic health.
According to UniSA researcher Dr Sharayah Carter, the study shows how a healthy diet comes in many forms
“Nuts like almonds are a great snack. They’re high in protein, fibre, and packed with vitamins and minerals, but they also have a high fat content which people can associate with increased body weight,” she says.
“Nuts contain unsaturated fats – or healthy fats – which can improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation and contribute to a healthy heart.”
While most people have been told that fats lead to weight gain and are detrimental to dieting, consuming healthy fats is essential.
Healthy fats can be found in a number of sources, including fish, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and avocados. One class of unsaturated fats is known as polyunsaturated fats. These are vital for the diet as they cannot be produced in the body. Polyunsaturated fats can reduce the risk of heart disease and other health problems connected to inflammation. Aside from containing these healthy fats, almonds are also a good source of protein and fibre.
Around the world, over 1.9 billion adults are overweight. In Australia, it is around two in three individuals, which equates to approximately 12.5 million adults. Having a balanced and nutritious diet can ensure that we remain in good physical condition, yet dieting doesn’t need to be as restrictive as we’ve been led to believe.
This became evident during the study, conducted by the University of South Australia, which followed two diets. One which was supplemented with almonds, and another with carbohydrate rich snacks. In both cases, participants reported losing around 7 kg of body weight.
Research was conducted by monitoring 106 individuals as they undertook a 9-month eating program. This involved three months following an energy-restricted diet, and then six months of an energy-controlled diet for weight maintenance.
15 percent of the participants included unsalted whole almonds in their diets, while another 15 percent consumed carbohydrate rich snacks such as rice crackers or cereal bars.
“In this study we examined the effects of an almond-supplemented diet with a nut-free diet to identify any influence on weight and cardiometabolic outcomes,” says Dr. Carter.
“Both the nut and nut free diets resulted in approximately 9.3 percent reduction in body weight over the trial.
“Yet the almond-supplemented diets also demonstrated statistically significant changes in some highly atherogenic lipoprotein subfractions, which may lead to improved cardiometabolic health in the long run.”
The study was funded by the Almond Board of California, which monitors global demand for California almonds and invests in research to address sustainability, food safety, and more. The findings have provided dieticians and nutritionists across Australia with more information, offering further evidence to support recommending almonds as part of a balanced diet.
For more information about how good food choices can benefit you, click here.