Findings from a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health suggest that particular dietary and lifestyle factors are independently associated with long-term weight gain or weight maintenance. A recently published study bolsters growing evidence that supports including almonds in the diet for weight management. This research adds a new dimension to the existing research because it highlights the importance of long-term consumption of almonds for weight management.
In a study published in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, Jaceldo-Siegl and colleagues found that long-term almond consumption was associated with maintenance of healthy weight, or body mass index (BMI) less than 25 kg/m. This study highlights that long-term intake of nuts, specifically almonds, can support weight maintenance. Researchers specifically studied the impact of almond consumption on cholesterol levels for 81 men and women for 24 weeks; however, an unexpected finding was that when free-living individuals added almonds to their diets (without being asked to compensate calorically by cutting other foods), they did not gain weight.
In this study, all participants followed their habitual (usual) diet for six months, after which they followed their habitual diet supplemented with almonds for six months. For the almond supplement intervention, participants were provided with their choice of dry roasted or raw almonds in the amount of 15 percent of their mean habitual energy intake. Participants were free-living and compliance with the almond supplement was 90 percent according to reported intake. On average, daily almond supplementation was 52 g (or nearly 2 ounces).
"It is important for Americans to look at their whole diet over time in relation to weight management, not just one meal," said Karen Lapsley, chief science officer for the Almond Board of California in a prepared statement. Lapsley continued, "The healthy choices made at each occasion, on each day impact a person's weight over time. For this reason, it is important that more long-term research be conducted to examine what those choices should be."
The limitations of this study relate primarily to the design of the study. Although the seasonal variations were controlled for, the training effect and secular trends in the economy and environment were not controlled for, which may have affected dietary behaviors and thus cholesterol levels. Additionally, because all of the participants began with the habitual diet and phased to the almond diet, there was a lack of randomization, which might have led to biased estimates on differences in cholesterol levels.
For more information on the Almond Board of California or almonds, visit www.AlmondBoard.com.