If you're looking for a healthy snack, you might consider munching on vegetables or feasting on fruit. If you want to nibble on something that will also help you to avoid unhealthy calories, new research says you may want to reach for a few almonds as well.
In the study, which was recently published in the European Journal of Nutrition, researchers from the University of South Australia took a look at what impact almonds might have on eating habits. The study involved 140 participants who were all adults between the ages of 25 and 65 years old, and who were also considered to be overweight and obese. Participants were assigned random snacks, and after consuming each, were assessed to see how it affected their appetite.
Read on to learn more about the results of this research, and for more healthy eating tips check out The Best Diet To Avoid Metabolic Syndrome.
The Results of the Study
The results showed that eating between 30 and 50 grams of almonds per day led to participants eating fewer calories—around 300 kilojoules (kJ) or 71.7 calories (kcal)—from unhealthy sources such as junk food.
"We found that people who ate almonds experienced changes in their appetite-regulating hormones, and that these may have contributed to reduced food intake," explains Dr. Sharayah Carter of the University of South Australia's Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition, and Activity, according to EurekAlert! Carter also notes, "Even small, positive lifestyle changes can have an impact over a longer period. When we're making small, sustainable changes, we're more likely to be improving our overall health in the long run."
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Why Almonds May Help Cut Calories
When it comes to why eating more almonds might lead people to eat fewer calories from unhealthy sources, Nicole Chenard, MS, RD, LDN, of Major League Nutrition, tells Eat This, Not That!, "Almonds contain mono and polyunsaturated fats and protein, rather than just carbohydrates, leaving you more satisfied and keeping your blood sugar more stable until the next meal or snack."
As for whether or not other nuts might have the same effect, Chenard says, "Compared to a carbohydrate-only snack, yes. However, almonds are lower in calories compared to walnuts and similar to pistachios, but almonds also have fewer Omega-3 fatty acids compared to walnuts, so it depends on what you're looking for as a whole. I always recommend switching it up to get the most nutrition bang for your buck."
Finally, Chenard points out that "Almonds can be a great snack or addition to many different meals." For instance, "they can be prepared roasted, salted, slivered, whole, or plain. They can be baked into your favorite holiday treats or added to no-bake homemade granola bars!"