Study: Long-Term Almond Consumption May Support Weight Maintenance

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23 Aug 2011 --- A recently published study bolsters growing evidence that supports including almonds in the diet for weight management.

Aug 23 2011 --- With more than two-thirds of Americans now considered overweight or obese, and rates that continue to climb, more and more attention is being given to the American diet, its impact on weight(1), and the resulting impact on health. In fact, 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.(2) 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 BMI < 25 kg/m(2).(3) 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(2) (see study summary for cholesterol results); 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% of their mean habitual energy intake. Participants were free-living and compliance with the almond supplement was 90% 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.

Lapsley continues, "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."

Study at a Glance:

K. Jaceldo-Siegl, J. Sabate, M. Batech, G.E. Fraser. Influence of body mass index and serum lipids on the cholesterol-lowering effects of almonds in free-living individuals. Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, Volume 21, Supplement 1 (http://www.nmcd-journal.com/issues?issue_key=S0939-4753%2811%29X0007-8), Pages S7-S13, June 2011.

(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Obesity Trends.
Available at http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html.

(2) 2011 Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men. N Engl J Med 2011; 364:2392-2404. Available at:
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1014296.

(3) K. Jaceldo-Siegl, J. Sabate, M. Batech, G.E. Fraser. Influence of body mass index and serum lipids on the cholesterol-lowering effects of almonds in free-living individuals. Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, Volume 21, Supplement 1 (http://www.nmcd-journal.com/issues?issue_key=S0939-4753%2811%29X0007-8), Pages S7-S13, June 2011.

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