Researchers at the University of South Australia have found a possible solution to the problem of obesity and overeating in the most unexpected of places – Almond Nuts. Their findings suggest consuming 30-50 grams of almond nuts can help reduce the number of calories consumed in a day.
Overweight or obesity is often defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents significant risks to human health. Initially overlooked, the issue of obesity has grown to epidemic proportions, causing over one million deaths each year.
According to Dr. Sharayah Carter of UniSA’s Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), “Rates of overweight and obesity are a major public health concern and modulating appetite through better hormonal response may be key to promoting weight management”.
The study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that consuming 30-50g (about two servings) of almond nuts in place of an energy-equivalent carbohydrate snack alters appetite levels, causing one to consume fewer calories in subsequent meals.
To arrive at this conclusion, 140 participants (42 males and 98 females) with BMI between 27.5 – 34.9 kg/m2 were chosen. They were aged between 25-65 years, of stable weight, and were all non-smokers. In a randomized controlled test, participants were assigned either almond nuts or snack bars based on age, sex and BMI to be taken after an overnight fast together with 200mls of water within a ten-minute period.
Baseline blood samples were drawn before consumption of the assigned snack. Blood samples were also drawn every 30 minutes for 2 hours for assessment of appetite hormones including ghrelin, GIP, GLP-1, leptin, and glucagon, amongst others. Participants were also asked to rate their appetite and hunger levels subjectively by answering a few questions at the time of each blood draw.
The result showed that although both groups reported little difference in subjective satiety levels, the test group eating almonds had 47 percent lower C-peptide responses, a hormone known to improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. Blood examination after a meal also showed an 18 percent increase in the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, a 39 percent increase in glucagon, and a 44 percent increase in pancreatic polypeptide responses, — all known to aid weight loss.
Glucagon, in addition to increased hepatic glucose production also sends signals of satiety to the brain. On the other hand, pancreatic polypeptide decreases appetite and food intake by inhibiting gastric emptying, thereby slowing down digestion.
“Almonds are high in protein, fiber, and unsaturated fatty acids, which may contribute to their satiating properties and help explain why fewer kilojoules were consumed,” Dr. Carter added while further explaining the role of almonds in weight loss.
In conclusion, the study’s findings provide enough proof that nuts — more specifically almond nuts — can serve as a worthy and savory ally in the war against overeating and obesity, a condition consistently rising in the developed world. Almonds serve the cause by increasing satiety, lowering appetite, and provoking small alterations in people’s energy intake. For this reason, almonds are the perfect and healthy go-to meal option to include in our daily diet.
“Even small, positive lifestyle changes can have an impact over a long period. When we’re making small, sustainable changes, we’re more likely to be improving our overall health in the long run,” concludes Dr. Carter.