Nuts have been seen as the go-to health food for years, snacking on them has always been put forward as a healthy option. But how healthy are nuts? And could it be that they are responsible for making you fat?
Firstly, no they're not. No one food eaten in moderation will make you fat. This goes for bread, red meat, cookies, anything. A healthy diet is a flexible one, but some foods are more likely to contribute to a calorie surplus (more calories going in per day than you are using).
These foods are known as calorie-dense, which basically means that there's a heck of a lot of calories in them considering their serving size. If you are looking to increase size then these kinds of foods are fantastic, nuts are full of micronutrients with a range of benefits, and it will be a lot easier to gain weight whilst eating them.
Again, if you are looking to maintain your current weight but improve your health then nuts can be great. But if your goal is fat loss, I'd avoid them.
Calories of Nuts (per 20g handful)*
100-130 calories might not sound like much, but think how small 20 grams is. The same amount of sugar would only be 77 calories. Dark chocolate only contains 101 calories per 20 grams. Imagine how easily you could eat 500 calories worth of nuts!
Whilst we're on the subject of nuts, peanut butter is often used as a high protein snack. But again it suffers (as do all nut butters) from being high in fat and calories.
And as for being high in protein, that tablespoon might contain 4g of protein (out of 16g) but it contains 8g of fat! And whilst protein is relatively low calorie at only 4 calories per gram, fat equals 9 calories per gram. So 72 calories come from fat, and only 16 calories come from protein. So calling nut butters high in protein is technically correct, but realistically way off the mark.
I really hope that you don't walk away from this article with a nut phobia, the point is that you should be able to enjoy any nut you like. But I want you to have the knowledge that just because a food is healthy, doesn't mean that it is the right choice for your diet. Treat nuts like a healthy treat, rather than a staple of your diet and remember that a little goes a long way.
*All calorie values taken from Google, these should be seen as an estimate.