Snacks contribute toward a significant proportion of human total daily energy intake. A new study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Oct. 2, 2013) investigated the effects of almonds, a satiating and nutrient-rich, common snack, on postprandial glycemia, appetite, short-term body weight and fasting blood parameters when consumed with meals or alone as a snack.
This was a 4-week randomized, parallel-arm study that entailed consuming almonds (43 grams/day) with breakfast (BF) or lunch (LN), alone as a morning (MS) or afternoon (AS) snack or no almonds (CL). Participants (n=137) with increased risk for type 2 diabetes completed an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and acute-feeding session at baseline, followed by almond consumption for 4 weeks before repeating the OGTT and acute-feeding trials. Anthropometric, biochemical and appetite responses were assessed.
Results indicated that almonds lowered serum glucose responses postprandially. Effects were most prominent in the snack groups, according to researchers. Almonds, consumed as snacks, also reduced hunger and desire to eat during the acute-feeding session. After 4 weeks, anthropometric measurements and fasting blood biochemistries did not differ from the control group or across intervention groups. Without specific guidance, daily energy intake was reduced to compensate for energy from the provided almonds. Dietary monounsaturated fat and alpha-tocopherol intakes were significantly increased in all almond groups.
Researchers concluded that almonds provide post-ingestive metabolic and appetitive benefits and did not increase the risk for weight gain. This suggests that almonds may be a healthful snack option.