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Almonds require a lot of water to produce, but successful health narratives and bad PR for other proteins mean these nuts reign supreme.     Photo: Qpicimages/ThinkStock

America Has a New Favorite Food

Demand for almonds up 220% since 2005

America is officially more nuts for almonds than peanuts. A Washington Post inquiry into American nut-purchasing habits found that demand for the high-protein snack food increased by more than 220 percent since 2005, far outpacing demand for any other type of nut, including peanuts (technically a legume).

Peanut consumption has been steady during the past four decades; annual consumption fluctuates between 1.5 and two pounds per person, with current consumption at the low end of that range. Almonds, however, are being consumed at a rate of two pounds per person per year—significantly higher than the mere quarter-pound the average American consumed in the 1970s.

The almond boom didn't come out of left field. It parallels a trend of successfully marketed health narratives and accompanying changes in dietary preferences. For instance, whereas conscious eaters once shunned nuts for their high fat content, now we know that fat—especially fat found in nuts such as almonds—is essential to a healthy diet.

The nut has been associated with longevity, heart health, and even weight management, and almond growers aren't doing a thing to reverse the reputation. It doesn't hurt that 91 percent of Americans now report that they snack every day, and almonds are easy to eat on the run.

The nut itself isn't the only almond product dominating grocery shelves. Though we still buy more peanut butter than almond butter, and almond milk makes up about 5 percent of milk sales, the booming gluten- and dairy-free trends could change that. Almond flour, anyone?


Usually, researchers there are busy studying weather and pollution in relation to the upper atmosphere, but all science at the station has stopped. BAS spokesperson Linda Capper told Mashable that although power isn't running at full capacity, all residents of Halley Station are in good health, including the doctor on staff. 

Because this happened in the dead of the Antarctic winter, with temperatures nearing what researchers think are record lows, evacuating the staff just isn't possible for at least a few months. Still, the staff expressed good spirits while everyone works to get things in order. 

As Capper said, "It's looking good, but it's still quite early days." Let's hope things keep warming up at the station. If you want to follow how the team is doing firsthand, an engineer (@AntAntarctic) and doctor (@AntarcticDoc) working at the station have been tweeting out their experiences (and some cricket news—hopefully a sign that things aren't too dire).


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