Almonds and Weight

People absorb fewer calories from whole almonds than scientists thought, says a study funded by the Almond Board of California.

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Researchers fed 18 healthy adults 1½ oz. of almonds, 3 oz. of almonds, or no almonds every day for nine days. Using the standard formulas for calculating calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrates, a 1½ oz. serving of almonds has 250 calories and a 3 oz. serving has 500 calories.

However, after analyzing the contents of the participants’, um, waste, the researchers found that they failed to absorb about a quarter of the almonds’ calories. They absorbed 200 calories from the 1½ oz. serving and 360 calories from the 3 oz. serving.

Does that mean that whole almonds can make the pounds melt away? Not quite.

In a second study, researchers put 123 overweight or obese people on a lower-calorie diet with or without 2 oz. of almonds every day. After six months, the almond eaters had lost slightly less weight (12 vs. 16 pounds) than the non-nut eaters. But after 18 months, the difference had disappeared.

What to do: Assume that whole almonds—but not almond butter—have about 25 percent fewer calories than the label claims. No one has tested whether people absorb fewer calories from almond slices or slivers.

Sources: Am. J. Clin. Nutr. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.112.035782 and Am. J. Clin. Nutr. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.112.037895.

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