Are almonds fattening?

Honestly I chose to answer the question, “Are almonds fattening?” because the idea of attributing any one food to making a person fat drives me nuts (no pun intended). For the sake of discussion though, let’s dive into it.

Almonds are a favorite food of mine, so I will admit to some bias. I love adding them to cereal, onto toast, or mixing them in with  baked goods for some added texture and nutrition. I also used to stop at the farmer’s market every year for a small bag of roasted almonds coated in a cinnamon sugar glaze as a semi-healthy treat. I adore eating something tasty while also boosting my nutrition for the day.

Let’s break down the nutrition facts to getter a better picture of whether or not almonds are fattening.

One fourth cup of slivered almonds, which is quite a bit if you think about it, is only 156 calories. As with most nuts, the profile of the almond is high in fat, but this type of fat is a heart-healthy one. Natural fats, like those found in almonds, are required for many things in the body including brain function and the digestion of fat soluble vitamins. Almonds’ fat content isn’t enough evidence to say that they’re fattening!

Almonds pack protein, fiber and a variety of vitamins all in one little nut. Almonds contain potassium, which helps balance out the sodium in your body, as well as phosphorus and magnesium, which are important for bone health. Magnesium might also help manage cortisol, a stress hormone that can cause negative biological consequences (including weight-gain) when out of balance. Almonds also contain vitamin E, which is great for healthy skin and nails.

The thing about almonds is that some people do not enjoy them plain, but feel the need to have them roasted and salted. One fourth cup of roasted and salted almonds can add over 100mg of sodium as well as extra fat in the form of oil, which is added to help keep the salt attached to the almonds.  So, if you’re going for the healthiest almond option, dry roasted almonds with lower sodium are the best.

But are almonds fattening?

Let’s think about this for a moment. What exactly is it that makes a particular food (such as almonds) fattening or not? Is it fat content? Is it high carbohydrates? Is it large amounts of protein or calories?

How about none of the above?

That’s right. No single food will “make you fat,” whether it contains fat or not. Yes, certain foods do not contain the nutrition that our bodies need, but that does not mean once that forbidden food hits your lips it heads straight to your hips. That is not the way the body works.

How and why is fat stored in the body?

Fat is stored when the energy from any given food is not used up in a given amount of time. The stored fat can be used for fuel later on if the body is desperately in need of energy. Fat is not the first form of energy the body burns, but that is a whole different discussion. To give a very broad answer, fat is stored when the incoming calories are higher than the output of calories.

It is important to look at the full picture when asking questions like, “Are almonds fattening?”

Because the fact of the matter is, yes, any food can make you fat. This includes almonds if we eat too many or if our energy expenditure is less than the amount of calories we eat. The great thing about whole foods like almonds, however, is that they are more likely to satisfy you than refined foods, which means you’ll be less likely to store extra fat from eating almonds than, say, almond roca. 

Are almonds a nutritious source of food that we should be incorporating in our diet? Absolutely, yes.

And not just because I am nutty about them.

 

Tell me…

What is your favorite kind of nut?

What are your thoughts on “fattening” foods?

 

Sources for “Are almonds fattening?”:

Originally posted 2013-12-06 16:16:11.

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