- Unskinned, whole almonds can be as effective in weight loss as carbohydrate-based snacks, as per a new study.
- Participants of the study who consumed almonds or carbohydrate-rich snacks shed the same amount of weight.
- But almonds could also provide cardiometabolic advantages that other carbohydrate-rich foods don’t.
A recent study by the University of South Australia. The University of South Australia suggests that a weight loss diet could be equally effective if substituting carbohydrates with almonds.
Participants in the study, which the Almond Board of California supported, reduced the same amount of weight loss, 9.3%, on either a carbohydrate or almond snack diet to lose weight.
The study involved 106 people aged between 25 and 65 years who participated in a three-month diet that cut down their intake of calories/energy by 30% and was followed by a 6-month weight-maintenance plan. All of them were overweight or obese prior to the start of the course of study.
For snacks, 68 people consumed 15 percent of their energy intake as 30-50 grams of unprocessed, whole California almonds with approximately 27-45 almonds. Researchers call this diet the “almond-enriched diet,” or “AED.”
The remaining 72 people adhered to the nut-free diet (NFD), where they got 15 percent of their daily calories through carbohydrate-rich snack items like oven-baked fruit cereal bars as well as cereal bars made from rice crackers.
After the three-month weight-loss period as well as the maintenance period, participants lost weight and gained more lean mass by the end of the phase of maintenance.
After the two phases, both groups showed improvement in cardiometabolic levels of fasting glucose, insulin blood pressure, blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and very low-density lipoprotein, as well as triglycerides. There was also a rise in HDL cholesterol.
The researchers behind the study believe that these improvements could result in weight loss.
Additionally, those who ate snacks on almonds noticed an increase in subfractions of lipoprotein.
The study was released in the Journal ObesityTrusted Source.
Almonds could reduce cholesterol.
“Lipoproteins are particles made of fat and proteins that travel in the blood throughout the body,” explained the first author, Dr. Sharayah Carter. Certain lipoproteins can be harmful to your heart, while some are heart-protective.
“The reduction in harmful lipoproteins with weight loss in both groups was beneficial and associated with reduced cardiometabolic risk,” she added.
However, she noted, “the greater reduction in the concentration of particular types of the lipoproteins — very small triglyceride-rich and small low-density lipoprotein particles — observed in the group who ate almonds is good news.”
They are lipoproteins that contribute to the formation of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Tests for blood to determine the risk of cardiovascular disease
Dr. Carter noted that lipoprotein subfractions cannot be monitored in a typical physician-ordered blood test as they provide a more precise and precise measure of lipid metabolism and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The two cholesterol tests commonly ordered by doctors are LDL -“bad cholesterol” and LDL – “bad cholesterol” — which means “low-density lipoprotein.” HDL is the “good cholesterol” — is the abbreviation used to describe “high-density lipoprotein.”
“[Lipoprotein subfractions] are commonly measured in research studies as an emerging risk factor for CVD,” Dr. Carter pointed out.
A doctor can still evaluate the health of a patient before and after a meal by measuring blood pressure, glucose levels at fasting levels to check blood sugar control as well as fasting blood cholesterol (total cholesterol level, HDL as well as LDL levels, the levels of triglycerides) as well as body weight and the waist circumference.
By comparing blood tests against what is in the Guidelines of the Heart Foundation on CVD risk, a doctor will determine if eating a healthy diet has improved the metabolic profile of a patient or if they suffer from metabolic syndrome.
Nuts are a healthy snack that has health benefits.
While nuts are loaded with oils, they have protein, as well as rich in fiber, and are also rich in minerals and vitamins. They rank at the top of the list of U.S. National Institutes of Health’s recommended food items.
Nuts can also be important ingredients in heart-healthy diets like The Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, the Trusted Source, and the Portfolio diet.
“For people wanting to lose weight, it is possible to eat a diet that has lower energy and still be able to include almonds.”
“While there are some similarities with all nuts containing fiber, lignans, and L-arginine that are cardioprotective, almonds have more vitamin E and [fewer] calories and saturated fat per ounce than other nuts,” said cardiac dietician Michelle Routhenstein, who was not a part of the study.
This study is the biggest ever to prove that people shed as much weight eating almonds as they do with carbohydrates, although different studies have found the same conclusion.
Almonds are a staple food that is also found to be negatively linked to adipose tissue or body fat, which is associated with a greater CVD chance.
“Nuts are a core food in the Australian dietary guidelines and are rich in several essential nutrients, and snacking on almonds is a healthy alternative to processed snack foods,” said Dr. Carter.
“I am not concerned about eating a diet that is enriched with almonds like this, however it’s important to remember that a lot of these cardiometabolic and weight-loss goals were reached by following the calorie-controlled program. We must be looking at the other foods people are eating in order to attain optimal fitness levels for their heart.”