Not only are almonds a healthy, quick snack to grab for munchies on the road, but research shows that almonds are especially good for shedding unwanted pounds.
A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found the control group that added almonds to their diet lost considerably more weight than the group that added the same amount of calories through carbohydrates. And this was despite the fact that the almond diet was considerably higher in fat.
The study confirmed what researchers and health fanatics have suspected for a long time – that eating the good kinds of fat, such as monounsaturated fat found in almonds, doesn’t make you fat. In fact, not only do they aid in brain function, but healthy fats help you stay satisfied longer, and away from empty calories such as sugary candy bars or fried potato chips.
In the experiment, conducted by the City of Hope National Medical Center, when overweight volunteers added 70 almonds per day for 6 months to their diet, their weight-loss efforts were dramatically accelerated. On average, the group dropped 18 percent of their body weight, and they experienced significant reductions in blood pressure and waist circumference.
According to research author Dr. Michelle Wien, “The weight-loss benefits of eating almonds came as something of a surprise, since the study was originally designed to evaluate the cholesterol-lowering effects of almonds. As it turned out, the dieters who ate almonds lost more weight than would be expected if they were taking prescription diet pills.”
She said the healthy fats, high protein and high fiber in almonds all work together to help the body feel fuller, longer.
“Because of their unique texture and savory taste, almonds are very satisfying,” she said. “A 3-ounce serving contains about 70 to 75 nuts, and this amount really fills people up, so that they’re less likely to snack later on.”
Wein added that almonds provide a healthy source of “crunch” that many dieters miss, especially when they’re trying to eat less carbohydrates. Also, protein-packed almonds can be considered an adequate replacement for those cutting back on animal products. Ounce for ounce, almonds contain nearly as much protein as lean meat, she said.
Almonds give you energy, too. Minerals like manganese, copper and magnesium, as well as B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin and biotin, are all found in the tasty nut, and are integral to the cellular processes that activate energy production in the body.
If you plan on adding almonds to your diet, go for whole, raw almonds – not dry-roasted which kills many of the energy-enhancing nutrients and damages the healthy fats. Try 15 – 20 almonds daily as a snack, or as many as 70 almonds a day for a meal replacement. You’re likely to feel better, eat less, and reach your weight loss goals a whole lot sooner.