Everything We Know About Calories May Be Wrong

A recent nutritional analysis of almonds, a favorite health snack among nutrition enthusiasts, has led to some intriguing insights on how our bodies handle certain calories. I’ve long said that not all calories are created equal, and it turns out that there is some new scientific evidence to validate this claim.

Almonds (and Other Healthy Foods) Contain Fewer Calories Than Previously Thought

Using urine and fecal analysis, food scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered that participants eating almonds didn’t absorb all of the fat (thus, didn’t absorb all of the calories) from the almonds they were eating. In fact, the study showed that our bodies absorb just a little over 30% less calories from almonds than what is printed in calorie charts. So, one ounce of almonds is actually absorbed at around 130 calories, rather than 170.

Since fat (although healthy) contains 9 calories per gram, this can be seen as a huge finding for those wishing to control their calorie intake and lose weight. Other factors should be present, of course, such as decreasing refined carbohydrates, eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners and ingredients, increasing exercise and getting enough sleep.

A finding in Britain also showed that pistachios may have 5% less calories than what is found on the label simply because we do not absorb all of the calories. This leads researchers to believe that other healthy foods that are rich in healthy fats and fiber may actually ¬†contain less calories than previously thought, simply because our body isn’t digesting all of the calories available.¬†

Other Than “Less Calories”, How Do Almonds Help in Weight Loss?

Along with containing fewer calories than previously thought, almonds also help with weight loss by managing our blood sugar levels after a meal. The natural fat, protein, and fiber help to lower the glycemic index of a meal containing carbohydrates, thus decreasing the blood sugar. This prevents a spike in blood sugar and insulin. Spikes, over time, associate with insulin sensitivity and increased fat storage.

The satiety factor from almonds is also a big plus, especially if you are trying to lose weight in a healthy manner. The fat, protein, and fiber help aid the feeling of fullness, so having a handful of almonds (or any nut) 20 minutes before a meal may be helpful. Other than weight loss, almonds, as well as all other nuts and seeds, help in cholesterol management, triglyceride management, skin, hair, and nail health and may even help protect against certain forms of cancer.

So…if you know of anyone who is avoiding nuts for fear of weight gain, let them know that they are A. O. K.! Keeping it at an ounce per day or 1 1/2 ounces, as part of a balanced eating plan, can go a long way in promoting health.

Recipes Using Almonds Flour:

Homemade Almond Milk
Cherry Cobbler
Homemade Twix Bars
Carrot Cake
Turkey Sausage Meatballs
Wheat Thins
Gluten-free Oreos
Nutter Butters


The Healthy Advocate.


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