As calorie consciousness is increasingly becoming an important personal goal for us in the season of festivities and celebrations, many nutrition researches show how snacking on almonds can help manage food cravings which may improve one’s ability to manage weight.
In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) provides a new understanding of almonds’ calorie count, showing that whole almonds provide about 20 percent fewer calories than originally thought.
While the composition of almonds has not changed, researchers used a new method of measuring the calories in almonds, which allowed them to determine the number of calories actually digested and absorbed. The researchers found that participants absorbed just 129 calories from a single serving (28g) of almonds, compared to 160 calories as previously estimated.
Ritika Samaddar, Delhi-based nutritionist, says, “There are simple modifications that can be made in the daily diet which can help a great deal in leading a healthier life. Switching to smarter snacking options like almonds is one such change. In fact, the growing body of evidence shows that a simple snack of these nuts can play an important role in appetite management and in keeping your healthy habits on track, making them a perfect, weight-wise snack”.
“While many commonly consumed snacks and festive treats provide empty calories, almonds make for a nutritious snack which is also a rich source vitamin E, fiber, protein, riboflavin, magnesium and many other important nutrients”, she added.
Interestingly, in another clinical study, participants were instructed to eat 1.5 servings (56 grams) of whole almonds daily, and despite those additional 250 calories, neither calorie intake nor body weight increased among participants[ii]. Snacking on almonds significantly reduced hunger and desire to eat compared to the control group.
Another study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that a mid-morning snack (1 serving or 1.5 serving) of almonds helped control appetite and resulted in reduced calorie intake during the rest of the day[iii]. Despite eating approximately 170 or 260 calories from almonds as a morning snack, there were no significant differences in total daily energy intake, suggesting the participants naturally compensated for the additional calories from the almonds.
Scientific evidence even suggests that eating 1.5 servings per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. A handful of almonds contain 13 grams of unsaturated fat, only 1 gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol.
The studies’ results support previous research indicating that the fat in almonds is not absorbed as easily as the fat in most other foods, due to almonds’ natural cellular structure.
So all in all almonds are a healthy snack option which can be consumed by people of all age groups and at all times of the year.
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