By Dr. Karl Nadolsky
Just last month I wrote an article (Wowser Waffles Improve Diabetes and Cholesterol) highlighting a recent study which showed the beneficial effects of having almonds for breakfast. Since most people do not eat straight almonds for breakfast, I took the opportunity to tie it into a plug for our “Wowser Waffles” or “Power Pancakes.” As a side-note, “Power Pancakes” are just pancakes made with the same recipe as “Wowser Waffles.”
A new study was just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition comparing a low-calorie “almond-enriched” diet with a similar low-calorie diet with instruction to avoid nuts. It has been previously shown that replacing carbohydrates with almonds during low calorie diets improves weight loss efforts along with better cardiometabolic parameters. The goal of this study was to compare a more generalized replacement of the diet with almonds of the same calorie content. The subjects were metabolically healthy obese individuals and the prescribed diets were 1200-1500kcal/d for women and 1500-1800kcal/d for men. The almond group was given two 28gm packets of almonds to eat daily, initially raw but eventually allowed isocaloric flavored almonds. They were also instructed to avoid other types of nuts. The study corresponded with an 18 month behavioral weigh-management program which included physical activity instruction. The results showed that the nut-free group actually lost slightly more weight (-7.4kg vs -5.5kg at 6mo and 5.9kg vs 3.7kg at 18 months resp) but lipid profiles were much better for the almond group, specifically at 6 months (TC -8.7mg/dL vs -0.1mg/dL, HDL +0.4mg/dL vs -.06mg/dL, LDL -5.4mg/dL vs -0.2mg/dL, and triglycerides -12.1mg/dL vs +1.0mg/dL resp). The lipids at 18 months still favored the almond group, especially HDL which increased by 4.6mg/dL vs 2.3mg/dL but were less significantly significant, possibly owing to convergence and complacency of dietary compliance. The impressiveness of the lipid changes is seen more by acknowledging that these were “metabolically healthy” and their baseline lipids were TC 195mg/dL, LDL 115mg/dL, HDL 57mg/dL, and triglycerides 105mg/dL which is already near optimal.
Overall this just adds more credence to the benefits of eating almonds as part of a low-calorie healthful diet. We continue to recommend eating a variety of nuts, especially in place of other empty calorie foods such as processed starches and sweets. So snack on almonds and other nuts throughout the day instead of the poor quality alternatives and when craving pancakes or waffles, we encourage you to try our recipe using vanilla Leaner Living MRP + almond meal as a healthful, low-carb, high-fiber, enjoyable substitute. Enjoy and live lean!