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Almond Diet Sheds More Pounds Than Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet

Nov. 7, 2003 -- Nut lovers, rejoice: New research suggests another good reason to sprinkle some almonds on your salad or toss a handful into your morning cereal. Almonds may help you shed those unwanted pounds.

Researchers found that people eating a diet rich in almonds lost more weight than those on a high-carb diet with the same number of calories. The finding goes against the traditional belief that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.

The findings also support those from a recent study that showed people on a low-carb diet lost more weight than those on a low-fat diet -- even when the low-carb dieters ate 300 more calories a day.

In the new study, researchers followed 65 overweight and obese adults -- 70% of whom had type 2 diabetes - for 24 weeks. One group ate a 1,000 calorie/day liquid diet supplemented with 3 oz of almonds (384 additional calories). The other group ate the same liquid diet but instead supplemented with a mix of complex carbohydrates (such as wheat crackers, baked potatoes, or air-popped popcorn). The two diets were equal in calories and protein but differed in fat. Besides the liquid diet, they could also have salads with lemon juice or vinegar dressing.

The almond diet contained 39% total fat including 25% from heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, while the non-almond diet contained 18% total fat, 5% from monounsaturated fats.

The study appears in the new issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

Participants in the almond diet saw an 18% reduction in weight and body mass index (BMI) -- a measure of weight based on height -- compared with an 11% reduction in the non-almond dieters. Additionally, waist circumference in the almond group decreased by 14%, compared with a 9% decrease in the non-almond group.

Systolic blood pressure, the upper number in blood pressure readings, dropped by 11% in almond eaters and stayed the same in the non-almond eaters.

Good Diabetes News

Both groups had improvement in their type 2 diabetes with lower blood sugar and insulin levels. But those on the almond diet were able to lower their need for diabetes medication more so than the non-almond dieters.

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