Snacking on almonds may lower the hunger drive between the meals as compared to consuming savoury crackers with equivalent energy, according to a study.
The research, published in the journal Nutrients, provides new evidence to support the impact of almonds on satiety.
Choosing foods that enhance satiety — those that help sustain feelings of fullness — can be helpful in weight management, noted the researchers from the University of Leeds in the UK.
They found snacking on almonds also led to suppressed unconscious desire to consume other high-fat foods, which could be useful in a weight management strategy.
The study did not see a difference in the total day-long calorie intake with the almond snack but did see a reduction in calories consumed during the lunch meal eaten two hours after the snack.
The research also found that the satiety quotient — measure of the satiating capacity of foods relative to energy content — was stronger immediately after eating the almonds than crackers, and participants perceived the almonds to be a healthier snack.
“The findings show that almonds suppressed between-meal hunger, but also reduced the reward value of other high energy foods,” said lead researcher of the study Professor Graham Finlayson, from the University of Leeds.
“This makes it less likely that they would be tempted to eat these foods when faced with them outside of the controlled laboratory situation,” Finlayson said.
He noted that consumers associate almonds with successful weight management which could help keep them on track with their intentions to eat a healthy diet.
The research examined the effect of consuming almonds as a mid-morning snack compared to an energy and weight-matched comparator snack (savoury crackers) or the equivalent weight of water.
In the study, 42 female participants aged between 26 and 34 years ate a fixed breakfast and then a mid-morning snack. The researchers assessed appetite sensations, energy intake, food hedonics (liking) and consumer perceptions.
The study found that people who snacked on almonds as a mid-morning snack reported a lower overall hunger drive compared to crackers with equal calories or water.
There was no difference in 24-hour energy intake in the almond group compared to the cracker or the zero-energy control condition, the researchers said.
However, the study did see a reduction in calories consumed during the lunch meal eaten 2 hours after the almond snack, they said.
According to the study, almonds suppressed hedonic preference or implicit wanting to consume other high-fat foods and demonstrated a higher satiety quotient (SQ) than crackers.
Almonds were perceived to be a healthier snack food, which aligns with successful weight management, the researchers said.