Last updated: July 1, 2023
Are almonds fattening, or do they support weight loss?
The poor almond is often wrongfully associated with weight gain, but this almighty nut is quite a nutritious little snack that can actually assist us in losing weight.
Let’s get to know the almond a little bit better. How can this delicious help with weight loss, and what other nutritional benefits can almonds offer?
Let’s dive in!
Why Do We 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 much can affect your health and weight.
We also all love to snack, especially in the afternoon. That irresistible urge to have something to munch on seems to get stronger as the day progresses. This gets worse when you’re feeling uninspired or are bored with what you’re doing.
It’s no wonder that 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 are typically drawn to the wrong type of snacks: chocolate bars, biscuits, potato chips, and so on.
Often these snacks are loaded with sugar, and excess sugar is bad for our health. It’s not fat, as many people may believe.
Excess sugar is bad because, without a proper exercise regime, much 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.
And 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 are the perfect natural snack that can make us feel satisfied so that we can skip unhealthy snacks.
Almonds and Weight Loss
Packed with vitamins and essential fats, almonds are a bit of a nutrition powerhouse. Also referred to as “the king of nuts”, they offer a great amount of nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin E, manganese, copper, fiber, protein, and omega-3s.
Despite being high in fat, they promote weight loss and can lower bad cholesterol. And most importantly, they contain very little sugar. So if you’re trying to lose weight, almonds are actually a great fit.
According to MyFoodData, 100 grams worth of almonds contain 49.9g fat with only 3.8g saturated fat and 0g trans fat. They also contain 12.5g fiber, 21.2g protein, and only 4.4g sugar. Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium.
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 superstar compared to conventional snacks.
How Can Almonds Help With Weight Loss?
Almonds are the perfect afternoon snack because they can make you feel satisfied very quickly and also offer many nutrients. After eating a handful of almonds, you won’t feel any need to indulge in sugar-loaded snacks.
The dietary fiber in almonds satisfies the appetite and will stop you from over-eating. Almonds can therefore give you that feeling of being full even when eating only a handful.
So instead of having an unhealthy sugar rush, you will be getting lots of nutrients, protein, and healthy fats.
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 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 consequences for our health when we do this on a 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 sugar.
Benefits of Eating Almonds
Here are some of the main nutritional benefits of almonds and reasons why you should eat them regularly.
1. 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. Build Lean Muscle
Rich in protein, almonds support 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. Good for the Heart
Almonds are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
4. Rich in Antioxidants
Rich in catechins, resveratrol, and other antioxidants, almonds can help to ward off illnesses and keep us healthy.
Antioxidants are essential to our body as they protect against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause damage to cells which can ultimately contribute to diseases and premature aging.
5. Boost 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. Strengthen the 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. Lower Bad Cholesterol Levels
Almonds are high in monounsaturated fat, the good type of fat that helps to increase HDL levels, the “good cholesterol”, and helps to lower LDL levels, the “bad cholesterol”.
If you love eating nuts, and almonds in particular, as much as I do, then you’re lucky. Raw almonds are generally considered healthy and nutritious.
They contain fewer calories and more protein than other nuts, which makes them perfect for those trying to lose weight in the long term.
So, are almonds fattening? Most definitely not. Just remember to eat them in moderation and not overindulge.