A common refrain often bandied about in the general vicinity of dieters is “Instead of eating [insert junk food you really, really love] as a snack, just eat a handful of almonds!” While it might be easier for some than others to change their eating habits to lose weight, how did almonds get so popular? And is all the hype worth anything?
If you’re listening to research from a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, yes, it can help people lose weight. The study was funded by the almond industry though (and gets peer reviewed by others before it’s published) so take that as you will.
Researchers in the study say people who added 1.5 ounces of almonds to their diets each day reported reduced hunger, and even though almonds are high in calories, by eating nuts they ate less of other things at other times, reports NPR’s The Salt blog.
“This research suggests that almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight,” says a professor of nutrition science at Purdue University. “Despite adding 250 calories to the diet, there was no change in total energy intake.”
A month into the almond-eating daily routine, participants didn’t gain weight, said researchers.
So it can help — but why? As the professor explains, it’s a mix of things: The protein, unsaturated fat composition and the fiber in almonds factor in, as well as the fact that almonds are low in carbohydrates, which stimulate the appetite.
And if you don’t chew your almonds all the way into its most masticated form, some of their calories can pass right through you without getting digested, but you still feel full.
The breakthrough part of this study appears to be the fact that almonds are even “better at controlling appetite when consumed as snacks.”
That’s in addition to prior research which showed that almonds eaten as part of an entire meal helped increase satiety.
This is all well and good but when someone offers me almonds instead of cheese curds, it’s not likely I’ll make the switch. That’s just me.