I ran an experiment today where I tried to eat 100g of plain unblanched almonds, which is only about 611 calories. Anyway, I got to 70g and , MY GOD, I was absolutely dying. I couldn't believe how satiating they were, I really had to force myself to eat more and it got actually a bit unpleasant. I stopped at 80g.
I couldnt make it to 100g. -> EPIC FAIL. ( well in my defense I had already had my main meal of the day just before of sausages and eggs, but since I only eat once per day I still had room for plenty more calories )
My Motivation for Nuts!? was recently spurred after reading a paper about how a low-calorie diet ( not something I recommend btw ) that consisted of almonds instead of complex carbs produced significantly better weight loss.
In this study humans were assigned a 1000 calorie diet per day for 24 weeks of which either 513 calories came from either almonds, or self-selected complex carbs (peas, corn, potato, pasta, rice, etc). Here is a table of the macro-nutrient breakdown...
Right ok, so remember what you learnt at the paleo guru website? a calorie is a calorie right? You know the score, all that counts is calories, so the subjects should lose the same amount of weight. Here is the graph showing weight loss....
So as you can see, the subjects on both diets lost the same amount of weig....... er okay nevermind about that bit. Onwards!
Heres what the researchers say........
The CHO-LCD group reached a plateau at week 16, similar to the onset of plateaus shown while using intermittent and continuous sibutramine therapy. Meanwhile, the almond-LCD group experienced a sustained and greater weight reduction for the duration of the 24-week intervention.
Infact the almond group finished with a 62% greater reduction in BMI at the end of the study, including a 50% greater reduction in waist circumference. Now the researchers have to figure out what happened. heres what they think...
higher fat diets may be more satiating than lower fat diets containing high glycemic index foods. Others have noted that unanticipated weight loss occurs in controlled feeding trials featuring the inclusion of nuts under isocaloric conditions.
The fiber matrix of the nut may have compromised the absorption of the fat from the almonds yielding an imbalance of energy sources between the groups. These data suggest that the greater weight loss observed in almond consumers may have been secondary to greater satiety and the lower bioavailability of calories from nuts
Above all, the almond group experienced a significant reduction in fasting insulin compared to the complex carb group ( 54% greater reduction ) which was probably the true cause of the weight loss. What I personally find so astonishing is the weight loss plaeteu did not occur in the almond group, only in the complex-carb group, Infact if you look at the weight loss graph, it appears the almond group where still losing weight at the end of the study.
So anyway, if youve recently signed up to Dan's Plan, you might want to consider plain unblanched almonds instead of plain boiled potatoes. You might also want to consider cancelling your subscription because this almond study is available at Nature's obesity journal full text for free.
thats where its at.
Or maybe, just maybe, low-insulin is where its at.
On a more serious note, I found some other interesting spin-offs from the almond paper.
- Replacing 500 calories of your diet with peanuts increases resting energy expenditure by 11% ( link )
- 10-15% of the energy in nuts is wasted due to processing and/or poor bio-availability ( link )
Another study published recently actually showed very slightly better weight loss in a dieting group that did NOT consume nuts compared to the group that were given 56g almonds per day. So as always in obesity research, its not too hard to find conflicting data. However I think this study has limitations, because the participants were given less strict advice about what their diet should be, where-as in the study in the top of this post, participants were given a specific diet formula, meaning they did not have to think about what to eat and probably resulted in higher compliance. Also the Almond consumption was higher in the first study, 84g per day vs 54g per day here.
Either way, I like nuts. And will start eating more of them. they are very low in the glycemic and insulin index even if some varieties contain some carbs/starch. Personally I cant stand macadamia nuts I hate the taste, but I will include almonds, brazil nuts, and cashews.
I cant believe it, 10 years after discovering atkins I am only now discovering the brilliance of nuts. duh!