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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snacking on almonds helps in reducing hunger without gaining weight

If you’ve steered clear of almonds for fear of excess calories, a new study may prompt you to reconsider the nutrient-dense nut.
According to the findings of recent research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who added 1.5 ounces of almonds to their diet each day reported reduced hunger, and they compensated for the extra calories from nuts by eating less at other times of the day.

In the study, 137 adults who were at risk for type 2 diabetes were divided into five groups. One group avoided all nuts and seeds, while the others ate 1.5 ounces of almonds daily (about 35 nuts) for four weeks either with their breakfast or lunch, or as a morning or afternoon snack. The snack groups consumed the nuts about two hours after a meal and two hours before their next meal.
Despite consuming 250 calories from almonds, participants' total caloric intake did not increase and they did not gain weight during the month-long experiment, according to the study.

"This research suggests that almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight," says Richard Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD, a professor of nutrition science at Purdue and the study’s lead author. "In this study, participants compensated for the additional calories provided by the almonds so daily energy intake did not rise and reported reduced hunger levels and desire to eat at subsequent meals, particularly when almonds were consumed as a snack." 
Richard Mattes explained subjects adjusted their diet because they didn't feel as hungry between meals and during meals, particularly among the groups that snacked on almonds.
One likely reason for the feeling of satiation is almonds' combination of protein, fiber and monounsaturated fat--slow-digesting nutrients that can make you feel fuller longer than if you'd eaten only carbohydrates.
Subjects in this study also improved intake of vitamin E and monounsaturated fat.

Mattes and his colleagues also believe that, based on previous research, not all of almonds’ calories are absorbed by the body. Whole almonds, this study suggest, may contain fewer calories than the Nutrition Facts Panel states because the rigidity of the cells inhibit absorption.
 In the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants ate either a control diet or one with above-average amounts of almonds. Over the last part of the survey, the subjects collected all their urine and feces; the researchers measured macronutrient and energy values in the waste products to determine how much of the potential energy in almonds was metabolized.
The findings were striking. Rather than the traditional value of 168-170 calories per ounce of almonds (about 20 almonds), the researchers measured an ounce of almonds as containing 129 calories, an overestimation of 32%.
Eating a bit more than 3 ounces (84 grams) per day of nuts such as almonds, the study authors write, can decrease the energy digestibility of one's overall diet by about 5%. Therefore, they note:
for individuals with energy intakes between 2,000 and 3,000 [calories per day], incorporation of 84 g almonds into the diet daily in exchange for highly digestible foods would result in a reduction of available energy of 100–150 [calories per day]. With a weight reduction diet, this deficit could result in more than a pound of weight loss per month.
Some more reasons to choose almonds as a healthy snack...

Almonds may help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels. In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a health claim recognizing that almonds can help decrease your risk of heart disease. In addition to the Qualified Health Claim, nine clinical studies to date indicate that almonds can help you maintain a healthy cholesterol level as part of a diet low in saturated fat. You can read all about the studies here.

Almonds are rich in antioxidants. Almonds are one of the leading food sources of vitamin E, an important antioxidant. In fact, just one ounce of almonds contains 35% of the daily value for vitamin E. Plus, in a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, experts found that almonds contain flavonoids and phenolics in their skins similar to certain fruits and vegetables. For example, a crunchy one-ounce serving of almonds contains a similar amount of total polyphenols as one cup of green tea and ½ cup of steamed broccoli.

Almonds lower risk of diabetes and have a beneficial effect on blood glucose levels
A study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition demonstrated that consuming an American Diabetes Association-recommended diet where 20% of total calorie intake came from almonds helped improve insulin sensitivity in individuals with prediabetes. Insulin sensitivity is a measure of how well your body processes glucose. Nutrients in almonds, such as fiber and unsaturated fat, have been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
According to a study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, consuming a breakfast containing almonds, which is a low glycemic index food, aids in stabilizing blood glucose levels for the better part of the day.  In addition, study participants felt fuller for a longer period of time. This is good news if you are looking for a food to keep you satisfied until lunch.

Almonds are rich in fibre. Research has already established the important role of fiber in maintaining a healthy digestive tract by helping with regularity. Just one ounce of almonds provides 3 grams of fiber, which is 12% of the recommended daily value.

The phosphorus content of almonds makes your bone and teeth healthy.  Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral nutrient in the body, after calcium. Phosphorus is also an important element in energy production and helps synthesize protein and is part of phospholipids (fat molecules), such as lecithin, which cells use to make membranes.

Portion control is always important in a healthy diet, and with almonds all you need to know is that a handful of almonds—about 20—makes the perfect one-ounce portion to crunch on every day.

A healthy, delicious and low-calorie recipe

Greek spinach salad - servings 8
1 bunch spinach, washed, trimmed and crisped
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
2 grape tomatoes, halved
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
24 Greek olives, or as desired
3/4 cup whole natural almonds, toasted
1 cup (1/4 lb.) crumbled feta cheese
Three Herb Dressing (recipe below)
Three herb dressing:
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. marjoram
1/4 tsp. thyme
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Toss all ingredients except feta cheese with three herb dressing. Arrange on serving platter. Top with crumbled cheese to serve.
Three herb dressing: Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Whisk until thoroughly mixed. 

Nutritional analysis per serving
Calories165 Fiber4 g
Fat12 g Cholesterol17 mg
Sat Fat3.6 g Sodium396 mg
Mono Fat6.2 g Calcium169 mg
Poly Fat2.0 g Magnesium74 mg
Protein7 g Potassium453 mg
Carb9 g Vitamin E4.7 mg*
* total alpha-tocopherol equivalents

Reference: http://www.almondboard.com/