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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Almonds - the benefits for weight loss

Nuts are rich sources of multiple nutrients and the associated health benefits has prompted recommendations to increase their consumption. They are also high in fat and are energy dense, raising questions concerning nut consumption and weight gain or weight loss.

Trials contrasting weight loss through regimens that include or exclude nuts indicate improved compliance and greater weight loss when nuts are permitted, suggesting nuts may be included in moderation in the diet.

Almonds are the most nutritionally dense nut, whether compared calorie per calorie or ounce per ounce, making almonds an effective weight loss food. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage Americans to get the most nutrition possible out of the calories you eat. A one-ounce, 164-calorie serving of almonds, or about a handful, is an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, and a good source of fiber. It also offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, protein, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and iron.

A 2006 study found that women who had eaten a serving of almonds had higher levels of cholecystokinin (a hormone associated with satiety from eating fat-containing foods) in their systems than men did. In practical terms this means that while almonds may leave both women and men with a feeling of "satisfaction," women may stay full longer.

According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, almonds supplemented as a snack to a regular diet increases overall intake of several important nutrients. The study's researchers concluded that incorporating almonds into a diet may promote the natural displacement of less nutrient-dense foods, making the overall nutritional quality of the diet better.

A 24-week study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that supplementing a low-calorie diet with almonds enhanced weight loss. Low-calorie diet supplementation with almonds, in contrast to complex carbohydrates, was associated with a 62% greater reduction in weight/BMI, 50% greater reduction in waist circumference and 56% greater reduction in fat mass. Researchers cited almonds' heart-healthy monounsaturated fat as being very satiating, helping satisfy the appetite and prevent patients from overeating.

Researchers at King's College in London found that almonds appear to help block absorption of carbohydrates, block their own fat from being absorbed, and improve satiety in both men and women.

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