Datta Meghe Institute of Higher Education and Research Conducts an Educational Session in Association With Almond Board of California

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Nagpur: With an aim to engage with nutrition and dietetics students, Datta Meghe Institute of Higher Education and Research and School of Allied Health Sciences Nagpur. and the Almond Board of California hosted a session on the benefits of consumption of almonds. The session, led by Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head of Dietetics, focused on highlighting three recent research studies funded by the Almond Board of California. These studies highlighted that almonds help regulate blood sugar levels in individuals with prediabetes, help to facilitate weight loss, and alleviate muscle soreness post-workout. The session saw around 70 nutrition and dietetics students participate in the discussion.

The expert talked about how adding a handful of almonds to the daily diet can have a positive impact on blood sugar levels in individuals with prediabetes and obesity. Furthermore, the discussion also touched upon the role of almonds in weight management, based on findings from one of the three studies.

A study led by Dr. Anoop Misra, Professor and Chairman, Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases, and Endocrinology (New Delhi) showed that the addition of almonds to the diet may help reduce the burden of diabetes. The study that was carried out on Indian participants broke new ground in reversing prediabetes, or glucose intolerance, to normal blood sugar levels in nearly one-quarter (23.3%) of the people studied. The short-term phase of the study was conducted over three days while the long-term phase of the study was conducted over three months, with participants having prediabetes. For the duration of the study, 60 participants in each research consumed 20g (0.7 oz) of almonds, around a small handful, 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In both phases, it was seen that consuming 20g (0.7 oz) of almonds 30 minutes before a meal significantly improved participants’ glycaemic control compared to people who didn’t do so.

 

Speaking about Dr. Misra study and the benefits of almond consumption, Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head of Dietetics said, “With prediabetes becoming increasingly prevalent, maintaining a healthy diet is imperative. Almonds, with their nutrient-rich profile, serve as an ideal addition to dietary plans aimed at regulating blood glucose levels. Moreover, studies demonstrate that the satiating properties of almonds aid in curbing hunger, thereby regulating overall calorie intake.”

Another study published in Obesity led by Dr. Alison Coates, Professor of Human Nutrition and Director of the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition, and Activity at the University of South Australia involved 140 participants aged 25 to 65 with BMI between 27.5 to 34.9 kg/m2. Participants were on a 3-month energy-restricted diet with either almonds or carb-rich snacks (Phase 1), followed by 6 months of weight maintenance (Phase 2). During both phases, the almond-enriched diet (AED) group ate unsalted, whole almonds (with skin) for 15% of their energy, while the nut-free diet (NFD) group received 15% of their energy from carb-rich snacks like oven-baked fruit cereal bars and rice crackers.

In the study, both groups reduced an average of 15 pounds (7 kg) in three months and shed an additional 2 pounds (approximately 1 kg) in the next six months. The AED group showed a greater reduction in very small triglyceride-rich lipoprotein particles and small LDL particles compared to the NFD group. Overall, the study found that an almond-enriched diet can promote weight loss and maintenance like an energy-restricted NFD, and both also promote heart health. So, replacing typical snacks with almonds can have a meaningful impact on lipoprotein subfractions, shifting to a less atherogenic pattern.

Speaking about the studies Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head of Dietetics said, “The research findings suggest that consuming almonds does not directly contribute to obesity. Instead, incorporating almonds into a balanced diet can aid in blood sugar regulation and promote heart health, among other general health benefits. Opting for almonds as a snack over highly processed foods can also boost intake of essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, protein, and vitamin E.”

The Witard study, published in Frontiers in Nutrition, aimed to investigate the effects of almonds on exercise recovery and muscle soreness. The study involved 25 middle-aged, mildly overweight participants who consumed either 57g of whole raw almonds or a calorie-matched 86g of unsalted pretzels daily for eight weeks. Post that, participants underwent a 30-minute downhill run test. The results showed that those who consumed almonds experienced decreased muscle soreness and better muscle performance during a vertical leap test compared to the control group. This study concluded that incorporating almonds into one’s diet may improve exercise recovery and reduce muscle soreness.

Commenting on the findings of Witard study, Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head of Dietetics said, “The new study highlights intriguing findings suggesting that incorporating almonds into one’s diet can potentially reduce muscle soreness and enhance exercise recovery. Given the nutritional richness of almonds, which includes protein, healthy fats, and others, it’s plausible that these nuts could offer such benefits. Almonds serve as an excellent snack choice for individuals aiming to improve overall health and recover effectively after physical activity.”

The recent research studies conducted by the Almond Board of California have consistently highlighted the numerous health benefits associated with incorporating almonds into one’s diet. The nutrient profile of almonds not only makes these nuts a perfect snacking option but also a great addition before meals. 28 g of almonds provide 6 grams of protein, 12.44 grams of unsaturated fat, 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, and 7.27 grams of vitamin E [1]. Additionally, almonds are recognized for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, attributed to their content of polyphenolic compounds like flavonoids and proanthocyanidins making them an excellent addition to one’s diet.

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