Handful of almonds in the afternoon improves body composition

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If you say 43 g almonds, the nutritional table says 262 calories, 8 g protein, 22 g healthy fats and 5 g carbohydrates. If you get people to eat 43 g almonds on top of their regular diet, you’d expect them to put on weight. But according to researchers at the University of South Australia that doesn’t happen. If you eat the almonds in the afternoon, your body composition actually improves.

If you say 43 g almonds, the nutritional table says 262 calories, 8 g protein, 22 g healthy fats and 5 g carbohydrates. If you get people to eat 43 g almonds on top of their regular diet, you’d expect them to put on weight. But according to researchers at the University of South Australia that doesn’t happen. If you eat the almonds in the afternoon, your body composition actually improves.

Almonds & calories
Almonds are calorie bombs, but they don’t make you fat as nutritionists have known since the start of this century. How does this work? Perhaps because you don’t absorb all the calories that almonds contain, we wrote six months ago.

Study
Australian researchers recently published the results of a human study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which suggest that there’s more to the story. The Australians did an experiment with 137 subjects, all of whom were developing type 2 diabetes. They had a high fat percentage, and high glucose and insulin levels.

The researchers divided their subjects into five equal-sized groups. The first group, the control group, were not subjected to any interventions during the four weeks that the experiment lasted.

The subjects in the other four groups ate 43 g almonds every day. One group ate them at breakfast [Breakfast], another group ate the almonds as a mid-morning snack [Morning snack], yet another group ate the almonds at lunch [Lunch] and the last group ate them as an afternoon snack [Afternoon snack].

Results
The participants were given no instructions to eat less, and at the end of the four weeks the researchers measured the subjects’ body composition. The figure below shows that the additional 262 calories in the form of almonds had not made the subjects any fatter.

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The most interesting results are the effects of eating almonds as an afternoon snack. The fat mass and waist measurement of the afternoon snack eaters went down and the lean body mass of this group increased. What more do you want?

The almonds also had a positive effect on the subjects’ glucose and insulin balances. Again, particularly in the subjects that had been given the almonds as an afternoon snack. The figure below shows the reduction in glucose level during the first hour after consuming the almonds.

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The researchers also discovered that the almond snack eaters were less hungry and automatically ate less other food. Apparently the extra 262 calories from the almonds were counterbalanced by an equal reduction in energy intake elsewhere in the diet.

Sponsor
The study was funded by the Almond Board of California.

Appetitive dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomized, controlled trial.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES:
Snacks contribute toward a significant proportion of human total daily energy intake. This study investigated the effects of almonds, a satiating and nutrient-rich, common snack, on postprandial glycemia, appetite, short-term body weight and fasting blood parameters when consumed with meals or alone as a snack.

METHODS:
This was a 4-week randomized, parallel-arm study that entailed consuming almonds (43 g/day) with breakfast (BF) or lunch (LN), alone as a morning (MS) or afternoon (AS) snack or no almonds (CL). Participants (N=137) with increased risk for type 2 diabetes completed an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and acute-feeding session at baseline, followed by almond consumption for 4 weeks before repeating the OGTT and acute-feeding trials. Anthropometric, biochemical and appetite responses were assessed.

RESULTS:
Almonds lowered serum glucose responses postprandially. Effects were most prominent in the snack groups. Almonds, consumed as snacks, also reduced hunger and desire to eat during the acute-feeding session. After 4 weeks, anthropometric measurements and fasting blood biochemistries did not differ from the control group or across intervention groups. Without specific guidance, daily energy intake was reduced to compensate for energy from the provided almonds. Dietary monounsaturated fat and ?-tocopherol intakes were significantly increased in all almond groups.

CONCLUSION:
Almonds provide post-ingestive metabolic and appetitive benefits and did not increase the risk for weight gain. This suggests that almonds may be a healthful snack option.

PMID: 24084509 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID: PMC3898316 Free PMC Article

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24084509 

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