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Chewing almonds may boost satiety

By Stephen Daniells , 18-May-2009

Thorough chewing of almonds may increase the absorption of unsaturated fat and suppress hunger for longer, according to findings from Purdue University.

Chewing almonds 25 or 40 times before swallowing led to significantly more unsaturated fat than those who chewed the almonds only 10 times before swallowing, according to findings presented last week at the 17th European Congress of Obesity in Amsterdam and published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“These findings also emphasize the importance of examining chewing in the context of a weight management plan because participants reported their hunger was suppressed and their fullness was enhanced as a result of increased chewing of the almonds,” said study author Richard Mattes, PhD, RD.

The study was supported by a research grant from the Almond Board of California.

Satiety is seen as a key target in the battle against obesity, with figures from Europe showing that up to 27 per cent of men, 38 per cent of women, and 3 million children are clinically obese in some parts of the bloc.

The retail market for weight management products was estimated by Euromonitor International to be worth US$0.93bn (€0.73) in Europe in 2005 and $3.93bn in the US, indicating that call to slim down or face the health consequences is being heeded by a slice of the overweight population at least.

Foods marketed for satiety enhance feelings of fullness after eating, acting as a boost to a person's will-power and helping them avoid a reversion to old habits in a bid to stave off hunger pangs, or 'grazing' in between meals.

Study details

The small study involved only 13 people with an average age of 24, and an average BMI of 23.1 kg/m2 were randomly assigned to chew 55g almonds 10, 25, or 40 times in a three-arm, crossover design. Blood was collected and appetite was monitored for three hours after feeding. The participants were also monitored for the next four days; with all foods were provided, including 55g almonds, which were consumed under the same chewing conditions. Complete fecal samples were collected.

Chewing 40 times was found to suppress hunger and elevate the feeling of fullness more than 25 chews. Furthermore, two hours after consumption, hunger levels were higher and fullness levels were lower after 25 chews than after 10 and 40 chews, said the researchers.

Levels of the appetite-suppressing hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) were significantly higher following 40 chews, compared to 25 chews. Insulin concentrations were also observed to decline faster after 25 and 40 chews than after 10 chews.

“This new almond research indicates that chewing more thoroughly may increase the availability of unsaturated fat and previous research suggests smaller particle size also impacts the availability of other nutrients present in the fat, like vitamin E, to the body,” said Mattes.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2009, Volume 89, Pages: 794-800; doi:10.3945/ajcn.2008.26669“Mastication of almonds: effects of lipid bioaccessibility, appetite, and hormone response” Authors: B.A. Cassady, J.H. Hollis, A.D. Fulford, R.V. Considine, R.D Mattes

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