My Favorite Fat-Filled Snack

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Dear Health Conscious Reader,

When I get hungry between meals, I grab some almonds.

I’m not worried about the fat or the calories.

Why? Because, contrary to what the calorie counters say, fat is a good thing to snack on. Let me explain…

I just read a study in the International Journal of Obesity that illustrated this. Researchers separated 65 obese adults into two groups. One group ate a low-calorie diet – with 18% of calories coming from fat. The other ate an almond-enriched diet – with 39% of their total calories coming  the almonds’ fat. Both groups ate the same number of calories and amounts of protein. But after six months, those who ate the almond-enriched diet had a 62% greater reduction in body mass index. A 50% greater reduction in waist circumference. And a 56% greater reduction in body fat, compared to those who didn’t eat the almond-enriched diet.1

This counters a lot of what we used to think is true. But as it turns out, carbs convert to fat in your body because they stimulate insulin. And the more insulin your body produces, the fatter you’ll be.

But eating fat doesn’t affect your insulin level. And almonds are loaded with GOOD monounsaturated fats. Just the kind your body needs to absorb vitamins, keep LDL levels low, regulate insulin, and reduce inflammation.

In addition to fat, almonds are full of nutrients. Including protein, fiber, omega-3s, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, folic acid, calcium, and zinc. You’d be surprised by how many Americans don’t get enough of these vital nutrients. And when your body lacks what it needs, it sends hunger signals to your brain. These signals make you crave sugary, starchy junk foods.

They covert to blood sugar fast. And that makes your body produce insulin to bring your blood sugar down. But to do this, your body first has to convert the sugar into a starch called glycogen, which is stored in your liver and muscles. But these organs can only hold so much of it.

So what happens to all the sugar left over?

You guessed it. Your body stores it as fat. But here’s what makes you even fatter…

When your body stores glucose as fat, your blood sugar gets low. And that makes you feel hungry again – for more sugary, starchy carbs to get your blood sugar back up.

This creates a vicious cycle that not just bloats your belly and waistline. It puts you at risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and other problems.

But when you eat almonds, this vicious cycle doesn’t even begin. That’s because almonds fill you up with nutrients and healthy fats. And they don’t spike your blood sugar. So your body gets what it needs – and doesn’t crave carbs.

And that puts you on a path to drop weight.

So if you want to lose some excess pounds, eat at least a handful of almonds a day. They’ll fill you up and give your body the fat and micronutrients it needs.

Here are some ways to get the most nutritional value from almonds:

  • Select almonds carefully. First, buy organic almonds to avoid additives like sugar and corn syrup. For pre-packaged almonds, buy them dry-roasted. Avoid salted almonds and roasted almonds, which are cooked in fatty oils. If you buy almonds with the shells on, make sure they’re not split, moldy, or stained. They should also smell nutty or sweet. Otherwise, they’re probably spoiled.
  • Always soak raw almonds. Almonds, with the skins on, can be tough to digest because of an enzyme-inhibitor in their coating. Soaking almonds neutralizes these inhibitors, so you can take in all their nutrients. Soak them in a glass bowl of filtered water for 12 hours.
  • Combine almonds with the right foods. Almonds are a great snack to munch on by themselves. Eating whole almonds with the skins on is the best way to get the most antioxidants  them. Almonds also also add a tasty crunch to just about any food. But for the best digestion, eat almonds with salads and other green leafy veggies, fermented foods, and high-protein foods – like grass-fed beef.
  • Keep them fresh. Refrigerate or freeze them in a tightly sealed bag to maintain freshness. They’ll stay fresh in the refrigerator for several months, or in the freezer for up to a year. Almonds in the shell have the longest shelf life.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

  1. M A Wien, J M Sabaté, et al. “Almonds vs. complex carbohydrates in a weight-reduction program.” International Journal of Obesity (2003) 27, 1365–1372.
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