• Why do consumers choose almonds? More than 75 percent of consumers surveyed think that almonds are “great tasting and nutritious,” so including them as an ingredient means packing an extra punch of delicious crunch plus a variety of vital nutrients.1 In fact, year after year, consumers continue to give almonds high health attribute ratings.1 The top almond attributes selected by surveyed consumers include "healthy" (81 percent), “nutritious” (80 percent), "good for your heart" (74 percent) and “a source of energy” (73 percent).2
• When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in six essential nutrients: protein (6g), fiber (4g), calcium (75mg), vitamin E (7.4mg), riboflavin (0.3mg), and niacin (1mg).*
• Almonds are an excellent source of alpha-tocopherol vitamin E (35 percent DV), a powerful antioxidant that may help neutralize damaging free radicals in the body.*
• Just one ounce of almonds is an excellent source of magnesium and a source of potassium (6 percent DV), phosphorus (15 percent DV), and iron (6 percent DV).*
• Almonds are a heart-smart ingredient from every angle. Every ounce has 13 grams of “good” unsaturated fat, only 1 gram of saturated fat and zero cholesterol.*
• Nearly two decades of research shows that almonds can help maintain a healthy heart and cholesterol levels.3
o A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that participants who ate almonds as part of a heart-healthy diet significantly improved their serum fatty acid profiles and reduced their estimated 10-year heart disease risk score.3
- The Study: The study was a randomized, controlled clinical trial that evaluated the effects of almond consumption on serum fatty acid composition and estimated 10-year risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Study participants were 27 adult men and women (mean age: 64 years) with elevated LDL cholesterol (mean 167 mg/dL) but were otherwise healthy. For four weeks, subjects consumed a National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Step 2 diet along with 50 – 100 g/day (approximately 2-4 oz.) of almonds (full-almond dose); 100 to 200 g/day of muffins (control); or 25 to 50 g (~1-2 oz.) of almonds plus 50-100 g/day of muffins (half-almond dose).
The muffins were formulated to have a similar nutritional composition as the almonds with the exception of carbohydrates and fat, as the muffins’ carbohydrate content was increased to balance the calories from monounsaturated fatty acids in the almonds. Almond and muffin intake amounts were based on estimated energy requirements of each subject, and provided an average of 423 calories per day. The study was crossover in design, with each subject completing all three four-week dietary treatments in random order, with a washout period of at least two weeks in between. The primary objective of the study was to assess the effects of almonds on blood lipids, which have been previously published; these results are secondary analyses.
Limitations: 10-year risks of CHD were estimated indirectly based on the Framingham equation. Each dietary intervention period was relatively short at four weeks, and there was a relatively high drop-out rate. 37.2% of the subjects who were randomized did not complete the entire study, and therefore were not included in the final analysis. In addition, almond consumption was associated with an increase in fecal excretion of MUFAs (unpublished data reported by the authors); thus, the effects may be confounded by differences between the dietary intervention periods in the actual amounts of nutrients and energy that were absorbed.
o A study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that eating nuts like almonds every day is associated with longer life and better health, and adds to the strong body of evidence demonstrating that people who regularly eat nuts have healthier lifestyles.4
- The Study: An epidemiologic study examined the effect of nut consumption on total and cause-specific mortality. To evaluate the effect, 76,464 female registered nurses in the Nurses’ Health Study and 42,498 male health professionals in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study were tracked for 30 and 24 years, respectively. Nut consumption was assessed at baseline and updated every two to four years with validated food frequency questionnaires that asked whether participants had consumed a serving of nuts (one ounce) the preceding year. The primary endpoint of the study was death from any cause.
Limitations: This study was an observational, epidemiologic study, and therefore shows correlation, not causation. The study population was limited to nurses and other health professionals, and findings were based on self-reported data from questionnaires. Additionally, participants with a history of cancer, heart disease, or stroke at baseline were excluded, and dietary data from participants who reported a diagnosis of stroke, heart disease, angina, or cancer were not included in the analysis. Finally, because researchers lacked data on how nuts were prepared (for example, salted, spiced, roasted or raw), they were unable to examine the influence of preparation method on mortality.
o A new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that a mid-morning snack of almonds helped control appetite and resulted in reduced calorie intake by the participants during the rest of the day. The study suggests that almonds may be a smart snack option given they acutely enhanced satiety, the feeling of fullness, without increasing total daily calorie consumption.5
- The Study: The effects of two different portions of almonds as a mid-morning snack on satiety and energy intake were compared to having no snack as a control in a randomized crossover design, meaning that each participant completed all 3 interventions – no almonds, 1 ounce of almonds, and 1.5 ounces of almonds. Study participants were 32 healthy, normal weight (average BMI 22.7) adult women with an average age of 48.4 years.
On each test day, participants consumed all meals under supervision at the study site. They were not permitted to eat or drink between meals other than the assigned snack intervention. Participants completed baseline appetite ratings, and then were given their usual breakfast at 8:30 am. The same breakfast was given to each volunteer on all three test days, ensuring that all participants felt their typical level of fullness after breakfast. They were then given a mid-morning snack at 11 am of no almonds, 1 oz. or 1.5 oz. of almonds to consume within 15 minutes. Limitations: The study was conducted in normal weight people, and findings may not be applicable in overweight and obese people, and only assessed the short-term (1 day) effects of eating almonds on satiety and energy intake. Habitual almond intake was not controlled for, and a control snack food of equal energy and volume to the almond snacks was not tested.
More recent research updates can be found here:
• Weight Management: http://www.almonds.com/food-professionals/health-and-nutrition#weight-ma...
1. Global Perceptions Report, Sterling-Rice Group, 2013.
2. North America Consumer AAU, Sterling-Rice Group, 2015.
3. Nishi S, Kendall CW, Gascoyne AM, et al. Effect of almond consumption on the serum fatty acid profile: a dose response study. British Journal of Nutrition 2014.
4. Bao Y, Han J, Hu FB, Giovannucci EL, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Fuchs CS. Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J Med 2013;369:2001-11.
5. Hull S, Re R, Chambers L, Echaniz A, Wickham SJ. A mid-morning snack generates satiety and appropriate adjustment of subsequent food intake in healthy women. European Journal of Nutrition 2014; DOI 10.1007/s00394-014-0759-z.
* Good news about almonds and heart health. Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving on almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.