The largest study of its type, published in Obesity, revealed that almonds in an energy-restricted diet helped patients lose weight and improve cardiometabolic health.
The Almond Board of California-funded peer-reviewed study had 106 individuals in a nine-month dietary regimen. Three months of energy-restricted dieting for weight reduction was followed by six months of energy-controlled dieting for maintenance.
In all periods, 15% of participants' calorie intake was unsalted whole almonds with skins (nut diet) or 15% carbohydrate-rich snacks such rice crackers or baked cereal bars (nut-free diet).
Almonds are a tasty snack. "They're high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but they're also high in fat, which can lead to weight gain," said University of South Australia researcher Dr. Sharayah Carter.
"We compared a nut-free and almond-supplemented diet for weight and cardiometabolic consequences. Both the nut and nut-free diets reduced body weight by 9.3% during the experiment.
However, almond-supplemented diets showed statistically significant alterations in several highly atherogenic lipoprotein subfractions, which may enhance cardiometabolic health over time.
Over 1.9 billion persons are overweight, with 650 million obese. Two in three Australians (12.5 million adults) are overweight or obese, whereas one in three New Zealanders aged 15 and older are fat (34.3 percent), up from 31.2 percent in 2019/20.
The New Zealand Heart Foundation recommends consuming three to four small handfuls of nuts and seeds per week to lower heart disease risk, with larger intakes providing additional advantages.
The Foundation further notes that nuts do not cause weight gain despite their high fat content. Higher nut consumption did not increase body weight in big population research and clinical trials. Eating nuts reduces weight, according to its website.
"Nuts' high protein, fat, and dietary fiber content helps people feel full after a meal or snack and reduces food intake."