When it comes to losing weight, very few people think of almonds – although they contain many healthy proteins, they are also high in fats, which often deters those who want to lose weight. But new research shows that almonds can indeed help with weight loss and also have other health benefits.
According to a statement, researchers at the University of South Australia (UniSA) found that including almonds in a calorie-restricted diet can not only help you lose weight, but also improve cardiometabolic health.
Almonds offer various health benefits. Scientific studies have shown that they can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, strengthen heart health and intestinal flora and protect against muscle soreness.
And according to the new study from Australia, almonds can also help you lose weight.
UniSA researcher Dr. Sharayah Carter says the study shows how nuts can support a healthy diet for weight management and cardiometabolic health.
“Like almonds, nuts are a great snack. They are rich in protein and fiber and full of vitamins and minerals, but also have a high fat content, which people may associate with increased body weight,” explains Dr. Carter.
“Nuts contain unsaturated fats – or healthy fats – which can improve blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and contribute to a healthy heart,” said the scientist.
Reducing body weight
“In this study, we compared the effects of an almond-supplemented diet with a nut-free diet to determine any effects on weight and cardiometabolic outcomes,” explains Dr. Carter.
The researchers found that both diets successfully reduced body weight by around seven kilograms.
“Both the nut-containing and nut-free diets resulted in a reduction in body weight of approximately 9.3 percent over the course of the trial.”
“However, the almond-supplemented diet also showed statistically significant changes in some highly atherogenic lipoprotein subfractions, which may lead to improved cardiometabolic health in the longer term,” the researcher continued.
“Plus, nuts have the added benefit of making you feel fuller for longer, which is always a benefit when you’re trying to manage your weight.”
Part of a balanced diet
As part of the study, 106 participants completed a nine-month nutritional program (a three-month energy-restricted diet for weight loss, followed by a six-month energy-controlled diet for weight maintenance).
In both phases, the participants’ energy intake consisted of 15 percent unsalted whole almonds with shells (for the nut diet) or 15 percent from carbohydrate-rich snacks – such as rice crackers or baked granola bars (for the nut-free diet).
These results provide further evidence that nutritionists can recommend almonds as part of a balanced diet for weight loss. (ad)