French fries versus almonds: Calorie for calorie, which comes out on top?

Two outstretched hands with french fries in one and almonds in the other

In an ideal world, indulging in a each day portion of French fries as a substitute of almonds could be a easy alternative, and no destructive penalties would stem from deciding on the salty, deep-fried choice.

However a Harvard skilled says we should always take the findings of a brand new examine supporting this situation with, er, a grain of salt. This potato industry-funded analysis suggests there’s no important distinction between consuming a 300-calorie serving of French fries and a 300-calorie serving of almonds daily for a month, by way of weight achieve or different markers for diabetes danger.

Maybe snacking on fried potato slivers as a substitute of protein-packed almonds gained’t nudge the size within the brief time period, however that doesn’t make the choice equally as wholesome, says Dr. Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and diet on the Harvard T.H. Chan Faculty of Public Well being. Crunchy, satisfying almonds ship well being advantages, together with reducing “dangerous” LDL ldl cholesterol. Over the lengthy haul, they’re a much better choice to assist keep at bay continual diseases — together with diabetes — or delay their problems.

“We’ve realized from many research over the previous twenty years that weight reduction research lasting lower than a 12 months are doubtless to offer deceptive outcomes, so a examine lasting solely 30 days is lower than ineffective,” Dr. Willett says. “For instance, research of six months or much less present that low-fat diets cut back physique weight, however research lasting one 12 months or longer present the alternative.”

What health-related elements did the examine measure?

The examine was revealed within the American Journal of Scientific Vitamin. The researchers randomly break up a bunch of 165 adults (common age 30; 68% ladies) into three teams for 30 days and assigned them to eat a each day 300-calorie portion of one of many following:

  • almonds, roasted and salted (about 1/3 cup)
  • plain French fries (medium serving)
  • French fries seasoned with herbs and spices (medium serving).

Researchers supplied members with 30 single-day parts of their meals merchandise, telling them to include it into their each day weight-reduction plan however providing no further directions to vary weight-reduction plan or exercise ranges to offset the 300-calorie consumption.

The quantity of fats in members’ our bodies was measured, together with complete weight, blood sugar, insulin, and hemoglobin A1C (a longer-term reflection of blood sugar ranges) at each the beginning and finish of the month. 5 members from every group additionally underwent post-meal testing to guage short-term blood sugar responses.

Weight isn’t all that issues to well being

After 30 days, adjustments within the quantity of physique fats and complete physique weight have been comparable among the many French fry and almond teams. So have been glucose and insulin ranges measured via blood checks after fasting.

One key distinction emerged, nonetheless: members within the French fry sub-group had greater blood glucose and insulin ranges simply after consuming their fries in contrast with the almond eaters.

It’s tempting to conclude there’s not a lot distinction between fries and almonds — it’s the energy that rely. However nearer studying reinforces the notion that two gadgets typically positioned on reverse ends of the wholesome meals spectrum are nonetheless farther aside than examine findings may need us imagine.

“The one clear discovering was that consumption of French fries elevated blood glucose and insulin secretion way more than did almonds,” Dr. Willett says. “That is in step with long-term research displaying that consumption of potatoes is related to an elevated danger of kind 2 diabetes, particularly when in comparison with complete grains.”

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