Snacking Strategy That’s Really Good For You

You won’t go hungry with the Omni Diet or The Brain Warrior’s Way because they incorporate daily morning and afternoon snacks. I just read about a Purdue University study that looked at snacking with a view toward weight control and good health. The researchers noted that 97 percent of Americans snack at least once a day, by the way, another study from the University of Missouri reported that the rise in snacking parallels the obesity epidemic. I’m betting that most of those snacks are salty high calorie, high fat chips and sugary cookies.

The Purdue study looked at almonds for snacking, and at how many calories the nuts would add to daily totals. Take a guess! You’ll be surprised at the answer.

The researchers recruited 137 adults, who were considered at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, for their four-week clinical study. They divided the participants into five groups:

  1. A control group instructed to avoid all nuts and seeds during the study.
  2. A breakfast group that ate 1.5 ounces of almonds at breakfast.
  3. A group that ate the almonds with lunch.
  4. A morning snack group that ate the almonds about two hours after breakfast.
  5. An afternoon snack group that ate the almonds about two hours after lunch.

The participants were not given any other instructions about food other than to eat and exercise as they normally did. They were asked to report their daily almond consumption, and the researchers confirmed “compliance” via tests for fasting vitamin E plasma levels (almonds give you plenty of “E”).

Here’s the Surprise

The 1.5 ounces of almonds the study participants ate daily contained 250 calories, but at the study’s end the researchers found that those 250 calories did not increase the participants’ daily total calorie intake and that over the four weeks, no one had gained any weight.

Somehow, the study participants must have unconsciously compensated for their daily 250 calorie snack by eating less overall.

What’s more, the participants said that they were less hungry than normal during the study and that their desire to eat at mealtimes after snacking on the almonds declined.

In reporting the results, the investigators noted in earlier studies that eating almonds increases satiety (satisfaction) in people whose weight is normal as well as those who are overweight. They suggested this might be due to the composition of almonds: 13 grams per ounce of healthy monounsaturated fats, six grams of protein per ounce; and four grams of fiber per ounce.

And consider this: the Purdue researchers cited an earlier study showing that whole almonds contain 20 percent fewer calories than the amount on their Nutrition Panel listing, possibly because their rigid cell structure may not allow for absorption of all the available calories.

The almonds used in the Purdue study were dry roasted and lightly salted. As a Brain Warrior, you can certainly snack on almonds, but I recommend choosing raw, unsalted almonds, because the oil in nuts becomes oxidized when roasted. (If you occasionally consume roasted almonds, choose those that have been dry roasted; roasting in oil adds trans fats and eliminates the benefits of eating the nuts in the first place). I also urge you to always choose unsalted nuts (and seeds). At first, they may seem bland, but stick with them. You’ll soon discover that the nuts’ and seeds’ own flavor is much more interesting when not hidden by salt. Viva almonds!

 

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