Substituting almonds for breakfast skipped improves insulin resistance
Studies have revealed that people who miss breakfast, which is the most important meal of the day, have better blood-sugar levels if they choose to snack on almond nuts mid-morning.
According to the studies, almonds may compensate for skipping breakfast as well as improve insulin resistance in the body, just as research suggests it contains healthy fats, protein, vitamin E and magnesium.
The Lead author from the University of California, Merced, Dr Rudy Ortiz, said the study, which is the first among a university student population, showed that for those who skip breakfast, almonds are a good snack choice.
The nut has also been associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as reduced hunger and weight gain.
The researchers analysed 73 first year university students who admitted to often skipping breakfast, of whom were chosen due to previous research, which suggested between 20 and 43 per cent of them, do not eat breakfast.
Some of the 63 per cent of the participants reported not eating breakfast some rarely or just two-to-four times a week.
The students were split into two groups, where 30 of them snacked on 56g of dry roasted almonds, equaling 320 calories, every day for eight weeks.
The remaining 35 munched on five Graham crackers every day, totaling 338 calories. The snacks were usually eaten at 11am.
All of the participants were told to keep the rest of their diet and exercise regimen the same during the study, which was funded by the Almond Board of California.
The researchers monitored the students on the weekdays to ensure they were eating their designated snacks, and reminded them to do so via text on weekends and holidays.
Meanwhile, Plasma samples and weight measurements were taken from the participants at the start of the study, as well as four and eight weeks in.
The results, published in the journal Nutrients, suggested that students who munch on almonds have lower blood sugar levels two hours later, as well as 34 per cent less insulin resistance, than those who eat crackers.
Insulin resistance occurs when a person’s cells stop responding to the hormone and is an early sign of diabetes.
Although, both the students eating almonds and crackers gained on average 1.7lbs (0.8kg) during the study, previous research suggests weight gain of between 2.2lbs and 6.6lbs (1-to-3kg) is common when people start university.
The results further suggest students find almonds more appealing than crackers when eaten every day, which the researchers claim shows that ‘repeated consumption of a nutritious snack is well accepted over a typical refined carbohydrate snack’.