Although many associate obesity with a “food addiction,” or the love of eating, scientists believe it has more to do with an individual's inability to feel satisfied after a meal. A recent study from England found that incorporating almonds into one's diet may aid in increasing one’s fullness after a meal, and in turn may help one maintain a healthy body mass.
Researchers from the University of Leeds developed a mathematical way to measure one’s “fullness” sensation following a meal. The method, named Satiety Quotient, works by measuring the individual's “satiety responsiveness,” the press release reported. Using this equation, researchers asked participants to eat a breakfast of raw almonds and cereal and then measured whether they displayed high or low SQ.
As part of the study, which is presented by the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, all participants were asked to eat a breakfast high in almonds for four days straight. Volunteers were then asked to undergo a series of tests, which recorded their body composition and metabolic rate as well as their food craving experiences over the week. The team also measured the size of meals and the rewarding appeal of high-fat and low-fat foods.
The researchers identified an individual as having low satiety responsiveness if his hunger was only slightly reduced by the almond-incorporated breakfast on three or more occasions. Results showed that these low-satiety responsive individuals displayed certain characteristics that are "markers of poor appetite control and would indicate an increased level of vulnerability to overconsumption and weight gain," Dr. Michelle Dalton, post-doctoral researcher for the study explained in the press release. These characteristics included being more likely to mood eat or be triggered to eat in response to certain situations or environmental cues.
The finding that those who do not feel as satisfied following a meal are more likely to be overweight is not exactly a revelation. However, using high satiety-responsive foods, such as almonds, to suppress hunger, may suggest more natural and efficient weight loss options. Almonds have long been identified as a natural hunger suppressant, but what exactly is it about these little nuts that makes you feel more full? According to Richard Mattes, a professor of nutrition science at Purdue University, it’s a number of things. “The protein, the unsaturated fat composition, the fiber" all very likely play a role,” he said. Also the fact that almonds are rather difficult to chew means they are more likely to move through us undigested, NPR reported.