Nibble away your waistline

If you’re a constant snacker, you may have a weight problem linked to your frequent indulgences. But with a better choice of snack, you may be able to keep chewing while reducing your waistline.

Research at Penn State shows that snacking on about 1.5 ounces of almonds every day instead of downing sugar-rich items like cookies or candy bars can take inches off your waist and help your heart health.

Previous studies have shown that the nutrients in almonds can improve the function of the cardiovascular system. This study shows that substituting almonds for less healthy snacks can protect your arteries and heart while lowering your risk of carrying around too much belly fat. (The study also showed that people eating almonds reduced the fat on their legs.)

The scientists believe that by reducing abdominal fat, almonds also shrink your chances of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of heart-threatening symptoms like high blood pressure that may be linked to diabetes.

“Our research found that substituting almonds for a high-carbohydrate snack improved numerous heart health risk factors, including the new finding that eating almonds reduced belly fat,” says researcher Claire Berryman. “Choosing almonds as a snack may be a simple way to help fight the onset of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.”

In the test, three months of eating 1.5 ounces of almonds daily (about 36 nuts) as a substitute for a sweet snack was shown to lower total cholesterol, while reducing the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol and remnant lipoproteins (cholesterol that is similar to LDL).

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.