Are you up for the almond challenge?
My man Joe from New York spends a portion of every day at Penn Station. Penn Station is the nation’s largest candy vending machine (oddly, folks also get on and off trains here). Joe loves Skittles, so every day is a temptation. You can’t really blame the guy for his sweet tooth. He’s overworked and has difficulty finding time to get consistent, quality nutrition. After finally shuttling his kids off to school in the morning, he whips up a meal replacement shake and throws the blender in the sink, stuffing his tie in his pocket. He’ll put it on when he settles inside the subway doors. When he does step off the train, he has his choice of tabloid newspapers and candy. He’s stressed, late and colorful sugar screams “come hither.”
My advice was simple. Hide a bag of organic almonds or walnuts in your pocket daily. When the SweeTarts sing to you, eat a handful of those (good) fat filled bad boys. Wait 20 minutes, then, if you still crave candy, go eat it.
“Remember,” I told him, “Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar makes you fat.”
Why was I so confident in issuing this challenge? Folks who consume nuts tend to crave and ingest sugar less. Part of this is due to the nutritional satisfaction from eating the nuts and part is the natural sweetness from the almond itself that curbs our enthusiasm for the vividly enticing candy.
By the end of the study, a number of very beneficial changes were seen to naturally occur. While eating almonds, study participants’ intake of health-promoting monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vegetable protein, vitamin E, copper and magnesium significantly increased by 42, 24, 12, 19, 66, 15, and 23%, respectively. At the same time, their intake of trans fatty acids, animal protein, sodium, cholesterol and sugars significantly decreased by 14, 9, 21, 17 and 13%, respectively.
The benefits of reducing sugar in our diet are numerous and tremendous. Almonds, however, are worthy of adding in on their own merits.
Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Five large human epidemiological studies, including the Nurses Health Study, the Iowa Health Study, the Adventist Health Study and the Physicians Health Study, all found that nut consumption is linked to a lower risk for heart disease.
Are you a candy gobbler? Accept my almond challenge and let me know how it goes in the comment section. I’m taking bets.