By Hannah Gibson
Almond lovers, rejoice! Your favorite high-calorie snack is about to get a makeover. According to scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Reserve Service, the old method of evaluating calorie counts may not be as accurate as previously thought. This process has worked by calculating the Altwater factors, which estimate the number of calories per gram of fat, protein, and carbohydrates then totaling those calories to create that familiar nutrition label on the back of your almond package.
The new and improved method will now take into account the average calories that are actually digested and absorbed by a human subject instead of the full calorie content of the popular nut. The addition of bioavailability factors means that whole unroasted almonds could have as much as 25% less calories, whole roasted almonds with 19% less and chopped roasted almonds with 17% less.
For anyone who wants to know why these numbers are so different, the answer comes down to the food type and structure of almonds. When food is broken up mechanically in our mouths, it creates smaller particles with larger surface areas per volume in order for our digestive enzymes to break them down more readily. The smaller the food particle, the more exposed it is, and the easier it is to be broken down more completely. Almond cell walls are tough, which prevents them from being completely masticated before entering the stomach which results in lower levels of energy absorption than the calorie evaluation of a complete almond. Stay tuned to learn if these new calorie calculations could affect the nutrition labels of all our foods.
Processing almonds lowers calorie energy, concludes study
(“Scientists suggest that both roasted and unroasted almonds provide fewer calories than previously believed”)
Source: Food & Function http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2016/FO/c6fo01076h#!divAbstract