A study finds that adding almonds to a low-energy diet can help people lose weight and improve their cardiometabolic health.

On a low-calorie diet, almonds helped people lose weight and improved their cardiometabolic health. Credit: Almonds by HealthAliciousNess is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

When it comes to weight loss, nuts can get a bad rap: Although they’re high in protein, they’re also high in fat, which often deters those looking to shed a few pounds. But new research from the University of South Australia shows you can also eat almonds and lose weight. The research is published in the journal Obesity.

In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that including almonds in a low-energy diet not only helped people lose weight but also improved their cardiometabolic health.

Looking at the effects of low-calorie diets supplemented with California almonds or high-carbohydrate snacks, researchers found that both diets successfully reduced body weight by about 7 kg.

Globally, more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight (650 million of whom are obese). In Australia, two in three people (around 12.5 million adults) are overweight or have obesity.

UniSA researcher Dr Sharayah Carter says the study demonstrates how nuts can support a healthy diet for weight management and cardiometabolic health.

“Nuts, like almonds, are a great snack. They are high in protein, fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals, but they 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 may improve blood cholesterol levels, relieve inflammation and contribute to a healthy heart.

“In this study, we examined the effects of an almond-enriched diet with a nut-free diet to identify any influence on weight and cardiometabolic outcomes.

“The diets with and without nuts resulted in an approximately 9.3% reduction in body weight during the trial.

“Yet almond-enriched diets also demonstrated statistically significant changes in certain highly atherogenic lipoprotein subfractions, which could lead to improved long-term cardiometabolic health.

“Plus, nuts have the added benefit of making you feel fuller for longer, which is always a plus when trying to manage your weight.”

The study saw 106 participants follow a nine-month diet program (a three-month low-calorie diet to lose weight, followed by a six-month energy-controlled diet to maintain weight). In both phases, 15% of participants’ energy intake consisted of whole, unsalted almonds with skins (for the nut diet) or 15% from high-carbohydrate snacks, such as rice crackers or bars. of baked cereals (for the nut-free diet).

These results provide further evidence that dietitians and nutritionists can recommend almonds as part of a balanced weight loss diet.

More information:
Sharayah Carter et al, Almonds versus carbohydrate snacks in a low-calorie diet: weight and cardiometabolic outcomes from a randomized trial, Obesity (2023). DOI: 10.1002/oby.23860

Provided by the University of South Australia

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