FoodFacts.com knows that there snacking has become an issue of sorts here in the U.S. There are so many unhealthy snack choices that surround us daily. Our grocery shelves are filled with them. Most contain countless questionable ingredients, too much salt and too much sugar. And our snack habits have contributed to our current struggles with obesity. We need some help choosing snacks that will work to curtail hunger that don’t work to put on the pounds. Today we read some interesting information that may provide that help.
A new study published in the October issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that study participants eating 1.5 ounces of dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day experienced reduced hunger and improved dietary vitamin E and monounsaturated (“good”) fat intake without increasing body weight.
An estimated 97% of Americans are consuming at least one snack per day. In light of increasing snacking frequency and snack size among U.S. adults, combined with continued increases in obesity rates and widespread nutrient shortfalls, it becomes increasingly important to identify snacks that pose little risk for weight gain while providing health benefits.
The newly published four-week randomized, controlled clinical study, led by researchers at Purdue University, investigated the effects of almond snacking on weight and appetite.
The study included 137 adult participants at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Participants were divided into five groups: a control group that avoided all nuts and seeds, a breakfast meal group and lunch meal group that ate 1.5 ounces of almonds each with their daily breakfast or lunch, and a morning snack group and afternoon snack group that each consumed 1.5 ounces of almonds between their customary meals. All almond snacks were eaten within approximately two hours after their last meal and two hours before their next meal.
Participants were not given any other dietary instruction other than to follow their usual eating patterns and physical activity. Participant compliance to consuming almonds was monitored through self-reported dietary intake assessments and fasting vitamin E plasma levels. Despite consuming approximately 250 additional calories per day from almonds, participants did not increase the total number of calories they ate and drank over the course of the day or gain weight over the course of the four-week study.
“This research suggests that almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight,” says Richard Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD, distinguished professor of nutrition science at Purdue University and the study’s principal investigator. “In this study, participants compensated for the additional calories provided by the almonds so daily energy intake did not rise and reported reduced hunger levels and desire to eat at subsequent meals, particularly when almonds were consumed as a snack.”
The new study suggests snacking can be a weight-wise strategy, depending upon the foods consumed. The combined positive effects of daily almond consumption seen in participants on hunger, appetite control, and vitamin E and monounsaturated fat intake without any impact on body weight suggests almonds are a smart snack choice that can help support a healthy weight.
FoodFacts.com likes this research for a number of reasons. We know folks like to snack. And we know that healthy snack options aren’t always as convenient as people might like. Often, grabbing that bag of chips or snack cake off the rack is easier than planning and preparing a snack to travel with you during the day. Almonds are actually pretty convenient. They don’t require preparation. They travel easily. And portion sizing is simple. They’re healthy for many reasons and they can stave off hunger until your next meal. Easy. Satisfying. Nutritionally valuable. We should all give this a try!