'Almonds control appetite without increasing weight' - The New Indian Express

'Almonds control appetite without increasing weight'

Published: 16th October 2013 09:23 AM

Last Updated: 16th October 2013 07:25 PM

When hunger strikes, most of us take the easy route. Grab a bite at a cafe or buy a packet of ready to eat wafers or chocolates. These sure do solve the immediate problem. But at the end of the month, your weighing scale relates a different story. Even sweetened biscuits, which promise weight loss, are loaded with calories. Busting the myth that nuts are fattening, a new study states that 43 grams of almonds on a daily basis, improves vitamin E intake.

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that study participants consuming 43 grams of dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day experienced reduced hunger and improved dietary vitamin E and monounsaturated (good) fat intake without increasing body weight.

With continued rise in obesity rates and widespread nutrient shortfalls, it becomes increasingly important to identify foods that pose little risk for weight gain while providing health benefits.

How almonds benefit

Almonds are a good substitute for unhealthy fats as they fill you up because of their high fibre and protein contents.

Almonds have been shown to increase satiety in both normal weight and overweight people. This may be attributed to its monounsaturated fat (13 grams),protein (6 grams) and fibre (4 grams) content per single serving (30 grams).

Says D Suchitra, dietician at Medihope hospital, “Almonds are very rich in dietary fibres which make you feel full. So five-six almonds should be incorporated in your daily diet. If you don’t want to eat them raw, they can be added to cereals and in chutneys, you can add almonds instead of peanuts. Almond paste can be used in vegetables. It is safe for heart patients.” She adds that they are also a rich source of Vitamin E and anti oxidants and good for the skin too. Almonds also prevent cancer, especially in women.

Latest research

The newly published four-week randomised, controlled clinical study, led by researchers at Purdue University, investigated the effects of almond consumption on weight and appetite.

The study included 137 adult participants at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Participants were divided into five groups: a control group that avoided all nuts and seeds, a breakfast meal group and lunch meal group that ate 43 grams of almonds each with their daily breakfast or lunch, and a morning snack group and afternoon snack group that each consumed 43 grams of almonds between their customary meals.

All almond snacks were eaten within approximately two hours after their last meal.

Participants were not given any other dietary instruction other than to follow their usual eating patterns and physical activity.

Participant compliance to consuming almonds was monitored through self-reported dietary intake assessments and fasting vitamin E plasma levels. Despite consuming approximately 250 additional calories per day from almonds, participants did not increase the total number of calories they ate and drank over the course of the day or gain weight over the course of the four-week study.

“This research suggests that almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight,” says Richard Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD, professor of nutrition science at Purdue University and the study’s principal investigator.

“In this study, participants compensated for the additional calories provided by the almonds so daily energy intake did not rise. They also reported reduced hunger levels.”

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