Are almonds fattening or do they support weight loss? The poor almond is often wrongfully accused of making us gain weight, but this almighty nut is quite a nutritious little snack that can actually even assist us in losing weight.
Let’s get to know the almond a little bit better. How can this delicious treat support with weight loss and what other health benefits do almonds have to offer?
How Do We Typically Become Overweight?
We all know that lack of exercise and poor diet choices can make us gain weight and cause health problems in the long term. Sitting in an office all day and not moving around much can have serious consequences for your health and weight.
But we all love to snack, especially in the afternoon. This irresistible urge of having something to munch on gets stronger as the day progresses. This gets worse when you’re feeling uninspired or are simply bored with what you’re doing.
It’s no wonder snacks are so popular in the office, as they can give us a bit of a mental boost and a little break away from our desk.
The Wrong Type of Snack
The issue is that we typically choose the wrong type of snacks: chocolate bars, biscuits, potato chips, and so on.
Often these snacks are loaded with sugar, and sugar is our number one enemy. It’s not fat, as many people still believe.
Excess sugar is bad because without a proper exercise regime, a lot of the sugar we consume turns into unwanted body fat. And this body fat typically finds a good home around the hips and the waist.
This is where almonds come in. They are an excellent snack without the nasty, processed carbohydrates that regular snacks often have. When eaten in moderation, almonds can have a very positive effect on our bodies.
Almonds and Weight Loss
Packed with vitamins and essential fats, almonds are a real nutrition powerhouse. Also referred to as “the king of nuts”, they boast a great amount of nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin E, manganese, copper, fiber, protein, and omega-3’s.
Despite being high in fat, they promote weight loss and can lower bad cholesterol. And most importantly, they contain very little sugar.
Nutritional Profile of Almonds
According to SelfNutritionData, almonds contain 48% fat with only 4% saturated fat and 0% trans fat. Almonds contain 12% fiber, 21% protein and only 4% sugars.
According to World’s Healthiest Foods, almonds are rich in Vitamin E, manganese, copper, vitamin B2 and magnesium.
As you can see, almonds are very nutrient rich, low in sugar and high in protein and monounsaturated fats (the healthy fat that increases HDL, the good cholesterol, and lowers LDL, the bad cholesterol).
This makes the almond an absolute super star compared to the usual dirty snacks.
How Can Almonds Help Us in Our Weight Loss Efforts?
Almonds are the perfect afternoon snack, full of nutrients, and they quickly make you feel very satisfied. After eating a handful of almonds, you won’t feel any need to indulge on sugar-loaded snacks that can make you fat very easily.
The mono-unsaturated fat dietary fiber in almonds satisfy appetite and will stop you from over-eating. Almonds can therefore give you the sensation of being full even when eating only a hand-full.
So instead of having an unhealthy sugar rush, you will be getting lots of nutrients, protein and healthy fats in.
Insulin and Sugar Intake
Insulin is a crucial hormone that deals with our sugar intake. It basically comes into action whenever we eat food. Glucose enters the bloodstream and insulin then allows cells to take up this glucose for energy.
This is very beneficial, but when there is too much glucose in our bodies, it gets converted into fat. And too much body fat can lead to disease.
That is what happens when we eat sugary snacks. The excess sugar ultimately turns into excess body weight because we are not burning off the massive amount of calories we are taking in.
This can have serious consequences for our health when we do this on a very regular basis. Another side effect of eating sugary snacks is that you’ll soon feel hungry again.
However, if you eat almonds (or similar nuts) as a snack instead, this process won’t occur because they are low in sugars.
7 Health Benefits of Eating Almonds Regularly
Some people even call almonds a super food because they are so rich in nutrients. Here are some of the main health benefits of almonds and reasons why you should eat them regularly.
1. Almonds Improve Digestion
Almonds are rich in fiber and contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. This can lead to better digestion and keep control of your energy levels. Fiber slows down sugar absorption into your system and can keep you energetic throughout the day.
2. Almonds Help to Build Lean Muscle Mass
Rich in protein, almonds supports lean muscle growth, promote cardiovascular health, and reduce hunger. The combination of fiber and protein has appetite-suppressing effects, keeping you full throughout the day.
3. Almonds Are Good for Your Heart
Almonds are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
4. Almonds Can Help Prevent Illness and Premature Aging
Rich in catechins, resveratrol and other antioxidants, this waistline-friendly snack can help prevent diseases such as cancer and diabetes, and prevent premature aging.
Antioxidants play an extremely important role in our body as they protect against oxidative stress. This occurs when there is an imbalance between the presence of free radicals and their neutralization by antioxidants.
Oxidative stress can cause damage to cells which can ultimately contribute to diseases and premature aging.
5. Almonds Can Boost Your Brain Activity
Rich in l-carnitine and riboflavin, two vital brain nutrients, almonds can help to boost brain activity. The good fats in almonds also reduce inflammation, fight free radical damage, and support overall brain health.
6. Almonds Help Strengthen Your Bones
Almonds are rich in magnesium, calcium and phosphorous, and all of these minerals contribute to the strength and durability of our teeth and bones.
7. Almonds Can Help Lower Your Bad Cholesterol Levels
Almonds are high monounsaturated fat, the good type of fat that helps to increases HDL levels (good cholesterol) and lowers LDL levels (bad cholesterol).
Final Thoughts on Almonds and Weight Loss
If you love nuts – and almonds in particular – as much as I do, then you’re lucky!
Almonds are incredible healthy and nutritious. They contain fewer calories and more protein than other nuts, which makes them perfect for dieters.
Just one hand-full boasts almost the same amounts of antioxidants and polyphenols as a cup of green tea or broccoli.
Regular consumption of almonds can improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of heart attack, and strengthen your bones.
These delicious treats have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels, prevent insulin spikes, boost brain activity and support fat loss.
So, are almonds fattening? Most definitely not, just remember to eat them in moderation and not to overindulge. Almonds can in fact be very helpful with your weight loss goals.