Are almonds fattening? What about almond milk?

Weight management is based on a simple mathematical equation: calories in – calories out. You introduce calories into your body via the food that you eat and use them up naturally during the day, and when you exercise.

All foods contain calories, but in differing amounts. Foods that have a lot of water tend to contain very few calories, whereas foods high in fat tend to contain a lot of calories.

This can be seen here, when you compare foods gram for gram: 100 g of apples, which are made up of 85% water, contain 52 calories; 100 g of walnuts, which are made up of 65% fat, contain 654 calories.

If you eat more calories than what your body uses up, the excess calories are stored as fat. Over time, if you continue to remain in a calorie surplus, you will gain weight.

Everyone is different, so the number of calories that you need to consume to maintain your current weight might be very different from what a friend needs. Your age, gender, weight, height and how much you exercise are all deterministic factors. You can use the calculator below to determine how many calories you should be consuming:

Gender Age Weight Switch to lbs Height Switch to feet and inches Activity Level

This calculator will never show a number below 1000 calories per day. Please speak to a qualified health professional before attempting to eat less than that.

For example, a 40 year old lady who weighs 60 kg (132 pounds), is 160 cm tall and exercises 4 days a week will need to consume approximately 1,900 calories in order to maintain her weight. If she consumed 2,400 calories everyday, she would start to put on weight.

Nutritional information of almonds

1 cup of whole almonds (143 g) contains:

Calories 822
Fat 71 g
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 1 mg
Carbohydrates 31 g
Fiber 17 g
Sugar 6 g
Protein 30 g

A single almond weighs around 1.2 g and contains approximately 7 calories. So the lesson here is portion control!

Any food, if eaten in abundance will lead to weight gain. For example, 1 cup of watermelon has only 46 calories, but an entire melon has 1,371. If you were to eat a whole watermelon everyday, it would make you fat.

The same is true for almonds. A whole cup contain 822 calories, which is a quite a bit. If you ate a cup of almonds everyday, on top of your other regular meals, you would put on weight. This is because you would be consuming more calories than what your body burns.

Having a handful of 25 or so almonds equates to 175 calories. Eating this amount everyday would not make you fat, because on a 2,000 calorie diet, they would equate to only 9% of total calories.

Even though almonds are high in fat, most of it is healthy monounsaturated fat. And according to this study, it appears that moderate fat consumption could help increase weight loss.

In the study, 65 overweight and obese adults were split into two groups. Both groups consumed a liquid diet, but one group supplemented it with  84 g of almonds per day and the other with complex carbohydrates. Both diets were equal in calories and protein, but differed in fat.

The results showed that the almond group lost more weight and had a greater decrease in waist circumference, compared to the carbohydrate group, even though equal calories were consumed.

Another study had similar results. 108 overweight and obese women were split into two groups. Both followed a low calorie diet, one with 50 g of almonds included and the other without. The almond group ended up losing more weight.

Almonds are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein, as you can see from the table above. Both of these increase satiety, which means they make you feel full faster. This is important for weight management as it prevents overeating.

This study found that increasing protein intake to 30% of total calories made people drop their daily calorie intake by 441 calories. Another study found that making a simple change and increasing fiber consumption helps with weight loss.

Most people are unlikely to eat more than a handful of almonds daily, so gaining weight should not be a concern. Another way of enjoying almonds is by eating almond butter, which is prepared by grinding almonds into a fine homogeneous paste. A tablespoon of almond butter contains 98 calories, so again, if eaten in moderation, it will not cause weight gain.

Is almond milk fattening?

You can either buy commercially produced almond milk or make your own at home. The nutritional profile of almond milk can vary greatly, depending on what is used to make the milk.

Silk is one of the most well known producers of almond milk. Their original almond milk contains 60 calories and 7 g of sugar per cup; their dark chocolate almond milk contains 100 calories and 17 g of sugar per cup.

Even though they are both low in calories, the original almond milk contains 60% of the calories and 41% of the sugar that the chocolate almond milk does.

Alpro is another well known producer and their “Original Fresh” almond milk has a similar nutritional profile to that of Silk original almond milk.

The original versions of the almond milk from both companies are very low in calories and sugar, so drinking a cup or two per day will not make you fat.

However this may not be the case for other brands, which is why it is important to ready nutritional labels before making a purchase. Some brands might have many more calories and a larger amount of added sugar, which is bad news for your waistline.

Homemade almond milk is easy to make; all it involves is blending some almonds in water and then straining the mixture. A cup of homemade almond milk will contain a similar number of calories as commercial almond milk. You would need to take measurements in order to calculate the exact number.

To do this, first weigh out the number of almonds that you are going to use. So lets say you use one cup of whole almonds with 6 cups of water – that equates to 823 calories.

After you have strained the mixture, weigh out the pulp. 1 cup of ground almonds contains 547 calories, however since the pulp will contain some water, reduce this amount by 10% or so.

So each cup of homemade almond milk would have (823-500) / 6 = 53 calories. Again, this is very few calories and unless extremely large amounts are drunk, almond milk will not be fattening.

Conclusion

If consumed in reasonable amounts, almonds and almond milk are not fattening. Having a handful of almonds or one cup of almond milk per day will not cause weight gain.

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