Adapted from Dikariyanto V et al. Whole almond consumption is associated with better dietary quality and cardiovascular disease risk factors in the UK adult population. National Diet and Nutrition Survey 2008-2017. Eur J Nutr. 2020 May 16.
Almonds are known to be a highly nutritious food, but they must be imported and they are expensive. They require sunshine, water and pollination by bees. The UK imports them from California and Spain. Almond consumption is low in the UK.
As in all observational studies, association does not mean causation. People who eat a lot of almonds, like me, are probably more health conscious, may be avoiding wheat and other grains, may be on a low carb diet, and may be more affluent and may also be doing more exercise.
The researchers looked at 6802 people who completed at least three days of a four day food diary between 2008 and 2017.
7.1 % of the population reported eating almonds with an average consumption of five grams a day (a very small amount). This group reported eating higher intakes of protein, total and unsaturated fats, fibre and micronutrients including vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper and zinc, manganese and selenium. They also had lower intakes of trans fats, total carbohydrate, sugar and sodium than non consumers.
Almond consumers had a slightly lower body mass index and waist circumference compared to non consumers. There was no blood pressure differences.
The actual differences were BMIs of 25.5 versus 26.3 and waist sizes of 88.0 cm versus 90.1.
The authors concluded that, “Encouraging snacking on nuts, including almonds, to replace snack foods high in saturated fatty acids, refined sugars and free sugars may contribute to the sum effect of a healthy dietary pattern on reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases”.
I eat a lot more than 5mg of almonds a day, usually in the form of low carb baking. We have lots of almond based recipes on this site. If you like eating the nuts, go ahead. They are often conveniently packed in small bags and are very handy if you are travelling. Bear in mind that they do tend to get stuck between your teeth so bring some dental tape with you too.