For those craving a between-meal nibble, a new U.S. study suggests that a handful of almonds could fill you up and cut cravings throughout the day, all without piling on the pounds.
Researchers from Purdue University looked at 137 subjects who were at risk for type 2 diabetes. Participants were divided into five groups -- a control group who avoided all nuts and seeds, a group who ate 1.5 ounces/43 grams of almonds at breakfast, another who ate the same amount at lunch, and two snack groups, who snacked on 1.5 ounces of almonds in the morning or in the afternoon.
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 four-week study, the researchers said. Still, it was the snack groups who reported the most pronounced reduction in hunger and desire to eat throughout the day.
"This research suggests that almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight," says Dr. Richard Mattes, distinguished professor of nutrition science 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."
Findings, announced Tuesday, are published in the October issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Prior research suggests that almonds aren't the only nut for healthy snacking. In a study published last month in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers from Yale University found that overweight adults can help protect themselves from diabetes and heart disease by eating a handful of walnuts a day.
A longitudinal study out of Spain published this summer found that people who ate nuts tended to have a lower body mass index and a smaller waist, were less likely to smoke and were more likely to be physically active compared to those who never included nuts in their diets.
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