Are You Nutty About Nuts?

How many of us resort to a handful of nuts when we are hungry in the afternoon? We think we are being healthy by reaching for this ready course of protein instead of the blueberry muffin. Let’s investigate just how healthy nuts are for us – and what role they can play in a high protein, calorie controlled diet.

Do you love nuts? Are you the secret squirrel that has a stash in your desk drawer in the office or your kitchen drawer at home? Do you secretly take handfuls throughout the afternoon and still profess to have stuck to your low calore diet?

Perhaps we need to know a little about their nutritional content before we think that we are meeting our health goals by munching on nuts.

Nuts are certainly healthy. They are a better alternative than a sugary processed snack for sure.  The downside is that they can also be high in fat. Their nutritional value differs widely between types, and it can depend on whether the nuts are raw or roasted, plain or salted, etc.

So how do you know whether or not you should eat nuts – and which nuts – in order to maintain weight or eat a healthy diet with all the right nutrients?

Here is your cheat sheet – a calories in nuts chart. The nuts are listed from lowest to highest calorie (and all values are for RAW nuts only).

Per 100g Calories %
Calories Fat Carbs Fibre Sugar Protein Fat Carbs Protein
Chestnuts 213 2 46 8 11 2 10% 81% 4%
Cashews 553 44 33 3 6 18 67% 20% 12%
Pistachio 557 44 28 10 8 21 72% 11% 15%
Peanuts 567 49 16 8 4 26 76% 4% 18%
Almonds 575 49 22 12 4 21 78% 5% 15%
Hazelnuts 628 61 17 10 4 15 86% 3% 9%
Walnuts 654 65 14 7 3 15 87% 3% 9%
Brazil Nuts 656 66 12 8 2 14 89% 1% 8%
Pine Nuts 673 68 13 4 4 14 87% 5% 8%
Pecans 691 72 14 10 4 9 93% 1% 5%
Macadamia 718 76 14 9 5 8 93% 1% 4%

Source: National Nutrient Database (USA)

The amount of calories in 100 grams of nuts ranges from 213 for chestnuts all the way to 718 for macadamia nuts – a difference primarily driven by the fat content. The protein and fat in nuts are key to helping you feel full and why they have been proposed as part of a good healthy diet. The trouble with nuts is – the PORTION size you take.

Lowest & Highest Calorie Nuts Beware pecans and macadamia nuts! With over 650 calories per 100g of these nuts they are certainly NOT part of your calorie controlled diet.  And if you are thinking – that’s OK, I never have 100g at a time then be mindful that 100g is about two-thirds of a cup on average – which is, you guessed it, a handful.

Nuts With The Most Fibre Almonds have the most fibre (12 g/100g) and cashews & pine nuts the least (3-4g/100g).

Nuts With the Most Sugar Chestnuts have the most sugar (11g/100g)and Brazil nuts (2g/100g) the least.

Nuts With the Most Protein Lastly, peanuts, almonds, and pistachios have the most protein (21-26g/100g) and chestnuts the least (2g/100g).

Nuts Vary By Type Of Fat Protein quality doesn’t vary widely across different nuts, but fat quality does. In terms of absolute amounts (g/100g), Brazil nuts & macadamia nuts have the most saturated fat, where chestnuts have the least. The presence of saturated fat in nuts is not an unhealthy attribute; in fact, it’s probably a good thing because polyunsaturated fats are highly susceptible to become damaged when they’re processed, and nuts are frequently pasteurized or roasted, which is capable of causing said damage.

What is the Best Nut for You? To get the most BANG for your nutty buck then most people tend towards the lower calorie / higher protein options such as cashews, pistachio, peanuts and almonds. But as you reach for the packet remember a SMALL handful will meet your requirement whilst ensuring calories are still low. For other healthy snacking options have a look at The Iron Mums Guide to Healthy Snacking Options.

Are you still nuts about nuts?

Iron Mums at 40+ is a leading Health, Fitness, Nutrition & Body Transformation Platform providing F2F/ Online Coaching & Programs specifically designed for 40+ Mums. We help YOU Drop a Dress Size in 30 Days or prepare physically, mentally & emotionally to Finish Your First, or Smash Your Time, in your Next Triathlon or Outdoor Challenge.

LIZ STAPLETON – Mum, Founder Iron Mums at 40+, Health, Nutrition, Triathlon, Fitness Coach 

♦ Call Liz Stapleton 0410 195 567 ♦ lizstapleton@ironmumsat40plus.com  ♦ www.ironmumsat40plus.com

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1 Comment

  1. […] 6-12 raw, unsalted almonds, walnuts or cashews. Nuts are fantastically healthy BUT beware – they can destroy a weight loss diet given they are so high in fats. See my article Are you Nuts? […]

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