Are Almonds Good for Weight Loss?

3 Reasons to Go a Little Nuts When You Want to Shed Pounds

Almonds in a bowl
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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. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one ounce of almonds (about 22 whole nuts) has 6 grams of protein. Research has found that high-protein foods in general are helpful for weight loss. One study found, for example, that a high-protein low-carbohydrate diet increases metabolism. Other research has revealed that 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.

    Another study found that among dieters, those who supplemented their diets with almonds lost more weight than those who supplemented their diets with complex carbs. And this study found that subjects who snacked on almonds every day didn’t gain any weight, even though they consumed hundreds of extra calories daily from the almonds. The scientists behind the study believe that’s because the almonds kept them from feeling hungry between meals.

    The Body Doesn't Absorb All of the Calories 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.

    Eating Almonds Can Help You Eat Fewer Calories

    Although almonds contain a relatively hefty amount of calories, eating them has been found to help people take in fewer calories overall. In one study, women who ate almonds as a mid-morning snack after consuming a standard breakfast and then were allowed to eat as they wished the rest of the day ate no more calories than usual had they not eaten the almonds.

    How To Enjoy Almonds

    Here are some simple and declicious 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. The USDA says that 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.
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