ALMONDS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Nuts have a reputation for being high in fat and calories, not exactly what you’re looking for in foods to include in a diet. But as it turns out, some nuts, particularly almonds, can play a key role in weight loss. Here are three key ways almonds can help you to burn fat and lose weight, plus ideas for how to include them in your eating plan.
Almonds Can Curb Hunger
Almonds are especially satiating, which means including them in a meal or eating them as a snack can help you to feel full for longer than you might otherwise, and less likely to make a beeline for the snack machine. There are several reasons almonds are so satisfying:
- They’re packed with protein. One ounce of almonds (about 22 whole nuts) has 6 grams of protein. High-protein foods, in general, are helpful for weight loss. A high-protein low-carbohydrate diet increases metabolism and including high-protein foods in the diet helps suppress the appetite. By including them in your diet you’re less likely to feel hungry even if you’re eating less while trying to shed excess pounds.
- They’re filled with fiber. Almonds also contain significant amounts of fiber. Fiber is filling, so when it’s part of a meal you’re likely to feel satisfied for longer than if you’d eaten a meal with little or no fiber. There are 3 grams of fiber in a serving of almonds.
- They’re high healthy fats. There are about 15 grams of total fat in a single ounce serving of almonds. That may sound like a lot, but most of it (around two thirds) is monounsaturated fat. That’s the kind that beneficial for heart health, but like protein and fiber, fat in food is digested slowly, which means it can provide energy for an extended period of time and help to curb hunger.
Not All Calories Are Absorbed From Almonds
Research has revealed that not all of almonds’ calories are absorbed by the body. Scientists believe that almonds may actually contain about 20 percent to 30 percent fewer calories than nutritional labels indicate because the rigidity of their cell makeup doesn’t allow for absorption.
How to Enjoy Almonds
Here are some simple and delicious ways to include almonds in your daily diet:
- Snack on whole almonds. To keep calories in control when munching on almonds between meals, stick to small portions. Look for snack packs with 100 calories worth of almonds already measured out, or create your own by buying the nuts in bulk and putting single servings into snack-size ziplock baggies. You can eat plain raw almonds, of course, but for a more interesting experience try smoked or seasoned roasted almonds. Do keep an eye on added salt if you’re watching your sodium, though.
- Don’t blanch. Whether raw or roasted, opt for almonds that still have their skins, which contain a significant number of antioxidants and other healthy nutrients.
- Use sliced almonds on everything from salads to yogurt parfaits. They’re a great way to add flavor and crunch without adding a lot of calories. Each tablespoon has about 35 calories.
- Butter up. Another tasty way to include almonds in a healthy diet is to enjoy them in the form of almond butter. A 2-tablespoon serving of unsalted, no-sugar-added almond butter has 190 calories, 8 grams of protein, 18 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of fiber. Spread it on whole-grain bread, use it as a dip for sliced apples, or blend it into a smoothie.
- Cook almonds with healthy green vegetables. If you’e sautéing something like green beans or asparagus for dinner, toss some sliced almonds onto the skillet. Cooking almonds with green vegetables adds protein to a side dish, making it more filling. It can also add a pleasant, crunchy texture.
- Coat chicken with ground almonds. Instead of using flour as a coating for fried or grilled chicken, use ground almonds. Place a handful of almonds in a food processor and grind them until they’re a fine, sand-like texture. Coat the chicken in the almond mixture before throwing it on the skillet. You can also purchase almond flour from your local grocery stores.
Avoid almonds if you have problems with your kidneys or gallbladders. Almonds are not safe for everyone. They have high levels of oxalates, which can affect the kidneys and gallbladder. If you have health issues involving these organs, it’s best to avoid eating almonds.
Make sure almonds don’t interact with your medication. Almonds are high in manganese, which can interact poorly with certain medications. If you’re taking any prescription medications, talk to your doctor before introducing almonds to your diet. You should make sure almonds will not interact poorly with any prescribed medications.
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- Veldhorst MA, Westerterp KR, van Vught AJ, et al. Presence or Absence of Carbohydrates and the Proportion of Fat in a High-protein Diet Affect Appetite Suppression but Not Energy Expenditure in Normal-weight Human Subjects Fed in Energy Balance. Br J Nutr Nov 2010;104(9):1395-1405. doi: 1017/S0007114510002060. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20565999