Almonds and Waist Size
If you eat a handful of almonds in the late afternoon every day, your waist measurements will shrink and your lean body mass will increase. Yeah, I know, it sounds kind of like the magic beans in Jack and the Beanstalk, but based on the findings of a group of Australian researchers, it's no fairy tale.
Granted, we've known for a few years that the calories contained in almonds are, because of human physiology, overstated a bit. The lab may tell you that there are 162 calories in an ounce of almonds, but if you eat that same ounce, the amount of fat in your feces goes up. That means you're not ingesting all the fat or calories in the nuts.
However, no one was aware of just how effective these nuts could be in building muscle and burning fat. Until now.
Australian researchers recruited 137 subjects, all of who were riding the glucose train to Type II diabetes. They divided them into the 5 following groups, each of which was required to eat 43 grams (about 35 almonds) a day:
- A control group
- A group that had almonds at breakfast
- A group that had almonds at mid morning
- A group that had almonds at lunch
- A group that had almonds as an afternoon snack
The subjects weren't given any instructions to eat less of anything. All they were asked to do was eat, in addition to their normal food, 43 grams of almonds a day for 4 weeks. The nutritional breakdown of these 43 grams of almonds is as follows:
- 262 calories
- 8 grams of protein
- 22 grams of fat
- 5 grams of carbohydrate
Keep in mind, though, that the 262 calories doesn't necessarily mean the body absorbs them all. Regardless, the subjects didn't get any fatter after the study was concluded. Furthermore, the almonds had a positive effect on the subjects' glucose and insulin levels.
The most interesting results were seen in the "late afternoon" group, though. The afternoon almond eaters had the greatest improvements in glucose and insulin levels and they also lost fat, whittled away at their waistlines, and gained lean body mass.
The Australians figured that all groups of almond eaters were less hungry after eating the almonds and thus ate less of other foods, but that doesn't really explain why the afternoon snackers in particular exhibited increased lean body mass and insulin responses superior to the other-time snackers.
Still, it gives a compelling reason to keep a supply of almonds in your pantry.
- Tan SY et al. Appetitive, dietary and health effects of almonds consumed with meals or as snacks: a randomized, controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Nov;67(11):1205-14. PubMed.