New research from scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that there are fewer calories in roasted, unroasted, whole or chopped almonds than previously thought.

Almonds are a healthy ingredient and remain top of mind for consumers, and now with fewer calories—up to 25% for some forms—they are an even better choice. The Almond Board of California (ABC) sponsored the recent study, which was titled: “Food processing and structure impact the metabolizable energy of almonds.

Study findings, published in Food and Function, reveal:

•         Compared to the number of calories listed on nutrition labels, there are 25% fewer calories absorbed from whole unroasted almonds 

•         Whole roasted almonds absorbed 19% fewer calories, and chopped, roasted almonds absorbed 17% fewer calories**1

In 2012, the researchers conducted their first study with whole roasted almonds, which showed that almonds provided fewer calories than thought.2 This time, the research team broadened its investigation to examine the calorie availability of other almond forms, showing that—with the exception of almond butter—all of the almond forms analyzed provide fewer calories than what is listed on packages.

Why the discrepancy between the traditional Atwater method and this new method of determining calories? Officials believe the Atwater method may overstate the calories from almonds because it doesn’t account for bioavailability, which is based in part on the strength of the almond cell wall. 

Manufacturers can learn more about the recent Baer research on ABC’s blog or contact Molly Spence, ‎Director of North America, Almond Board of California, for more information on the research.

1.     Gebauer SK, Novotny JA, Bornhorst GM and Baer DJ. Food processing and structure impact the metabolizable energy of almonds. Food & Function. 2016;7(10):4231-4238.

2.     Novotny JA, Gebauer SK, Baer DJ. Discrepancy between the Atwater factor predicted and empirically measured energy values of almonds in human diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012;96(2):296-301.

**Measured calorie values for whole and chopped roasted almonds were statistically the same, though they were both significantly and similarly lower than values estimated using Atwater Factors.