New research published in the European Journal of Nutrition finds that almond consumers in the UK have lower waist circumference, a lower BMI, and better diet quality, compared with people who do not consume almonds. 

The study, which was funded by the Almond Board of California, used the most recent population data from the UK’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS rolling program, 2008-2017) to determine the higher diet quality scores of almond eaters.

The almond eaters had higher reported intakes of protein, total fat, monounsaturated, omega-3 and omega-6 fats, fibre, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.

The study investigated the association of almond snack consumption with risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) including BMI, total cholesterol, “bad” LDL-cholesterol, among other measures.  Cross-sectional analysis was conducted using NDNS data from 6,802 adults who completed a four-day estimated food diary.

Although average almond intake was low among UK adults who said they eat almonds (7.6% of the population reported eating whole almonds and average intake was 5g/day), UK almond consumers reported higher diet quality scores compared to those who reported not consuming almonds.

The almond eaters had higher reported intakes of protein, total fat, monounsaturated, omega-3 and omega-6 fats, fiber, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. 

Further, they had lower intakes of trans-fatty acids, total carbohydrate, sugar and sodium.  This finding suggests that UK adults with healthier dietary patterns are more likely to include whole almonds.

The researchers also found that UK almond consumers had lower BMI and waist circumference measurements. BMI was significantly lower for the whole almonds only group by .8 kg/m² and waist circumference was lower by 2.1cm.  There were no differences between almond consumers and non-consumers with regard to other CVD risk factors.

“This study gives even more reason to include a handful of almonds, which is 28 grams, to help make your diet more nutritious with increased fibre and unsaturated fats.  Further, the almond eaters had smaller waistlines.  Less weight around your middle is associated with lowering your heart disease risk,” says Consultant Dietitian Juliette Kellow.