New Research Shows that Snacking On This Heart-Healthy Nut Reduces Belly Fat
Are you looking for an easy way to reduce that belly fat? Here is what researchers recently discovered during a cholesterol study where eating one specific type of nut not only proved to be heart healthy, but also reduced the belly fat of 52 overweight, middle-aged test subjects.
Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. As such, researchers are investigating how that eating specific foods can help prevent heart disease. One of the candidate foods that has sparked the interest of researchers is the almond, which previous studies have shown can actually improve the heart health of people at risk of heart disease. Almonds are a natural source of vitamin E and magnesium that in just a one-ounce serving provides 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
A recent press release tells us that not only will heart health-conscious dieters enjoy the cholesterol lowering benefits of eating 1.5 ounces of almonds a day, but that they can also expect to benefit from a smaller waistline with the loss of belly fat—an important risk factor of heart disease and metabolic disorder.
This belly blasting discovery was the result of a twelve-week, randomized, controlled clinical trial, led by researchers at Penn State University who wanted to determine in a cross-over study the effect on cholesterol levels by eating almonds as a snack in comparison to eating a banana muffin as a snack.
In the study, 52 overweight, middle-aged adults who had high total and LDL cholesterol but were otherwise healthy were divided into two groups of which one group was given a daily snack of 1.5 ounces of whole natural almonds, while the other group was given a banana muffin. Both group’s meals were otherwise identical and the two snacks contained the same number of calories. After the initial 6 weeks and a 2 week long recovery period, the groups switched snack types and continued with a second 6-week long diet.
What the researchers discovered was that:
• When eating almonds, both groups had a decrease in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol non-HDL-cholesterol and remnant lipoproteins.
• When eating the muffin snack, both groups experienced a reduced HDL (good) cholesterol more than while on the almond diet.
• Despite no differences in body weight or total fat mass, the almond diet significantly reduced abdominal fat mass, waist circumference and leg fat mass compared to the diet with the muffin snack.
"Our research found that substituting almonds for a high-carbohydrate snack improved numerous heart health risk factors, including the new finding that eating almonds reduced belly fat," says Claire Berryman, PhD and lead researcher of the study. "Choosing almonds as a snack may be a simple way to help fight the onset of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases."
According to the published study, the authors concluded that:
“This study provides evidence that a daily snack of almonds (1.5 oz.) instead of a high-carbohydrate snack, when eaten as part of an overall heart-healthy diet, beneficially affected risk favors for cardiovascular disease. In addition to improving participants' cholesterol levels, snacking on almonds instead of muffins also reduced central adiposity (belly fat) and leg fat. These findings suggest that choosing almonds as a snack may be a simple heart-smart dietary strategy to help prevent the onset of metabolic syndrome or cardiovascular disease in those with elevated LDL cholesterol.
While researchers do not yet know why almonds have this belly reducing effect, the results appear to support the use of almond milk as advised in Dr. Oz’s 2-week weight loss plan, and per the success of one Oz guest who lost a significant amount of weight that she attributed to the help of a daily almond milk smoothie.
More Belly Fat Advice That Works
For more about the power of nuts, here is one nut that research shows actually suppresses appetite.
And for a one-two punch against belly fat, try this effective way to control belly fat in men that was revealed in a recent study.
Reference: “Effects of Daily Almond Consumption on Cardiometabolic Risk and Abdominal Adiposity in Healthy Adults with Elevated LDL-Cholesterol: A Randomized Controlled Trial” Journal of the American Heart Association 2015; 4:e000993 DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.114.000993; Berryman CE, West SG, Fleming JA, Bordi PL, Kris-Etherton PM.