Nuts are healthy as they are packed with nutrients and incredible health benefits. At the same time, nuts are high in calories and fat, which can cause people to avoid eating them for fear of gaining body fat.
Are you one of those people who avoids eating nuts because you are scared of getting fat from eating them? We are going to debunk this fear and myth, so that you can eat nuts with peace of mind and forget worrying about the big question – are nuts fattening?
Do Nuts Make You Gain Weight?
Nuts do contain fat, and the amount of fat varies between different nut types. Due to the media frenzy over fat in foods, nuts have received a bad rep for years. This is an unfair portrayal as not all fat is created equal. The fats in nuts are healthy and do the body good. Nuts contain mostly unsaturated fat which is an essential part of our diet and is critical for good health. Unsaturated fats have been reported to help with reducing risk of heart disease and cholesterol levels.
Reducing saturated fat has been a cornerstone of dietary recommendations for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk reduction. However, evidence from observational studies and randomized clinical trials demonstrates that replacing saturated fat with carbohydrates, specifically refined, has no benefit on CVD risk, while substituting polyunsaturated fats for either saturated fat or carbohydrate reduces risk. – PubMed
Nuts can be part of a healthy daily diet, the important part to remember is to not eat too much food beyond what your body needs. It would be very difficult to pinpoint if nuts were fattening to your body unless you only ate nuts and ate too many calories for your body’s needs. This is not realistic, as we are going to eat other foods aside from nuts.
To answer the question, do nuts make you gain weight, any food eaten in excess will make you gain weight. However, do not assume that nuts will make you fat just because they contain dietary fat. Add nuts to your daily food alongside other wholesome foods, eat mindfully and be conscious of how satisfied you feel from eating the amount of nuts you eat.
How Many Nuts Should You Eat a Day?
Working out how many nuts to eat a day is a tricky equation and will require common sense and mindful eating. As nuts are dense in calories and fat, you want to limit the total amount to a reasonably sized portion to make space for other healthy foods in your daily nutrition. Your body wants to feel satisfied and satiated from meals and if you eat too many nuts, your stomach will be full due to the calorie and fat content, but you might not be fully satiated as your body is missing out on other key nutrients from other foods that you aren’t able to eat due to fullness from the nuts.
On top of that, because your body is not satiated from eating many nuts you may still crave other foods and end up eating too many calories overall in your day of eating. This is why it requires a mindful approach to eating nuts, and food in general.
A general rule of thumb is to add 1 to 2 tablespoon of nuts a day to your diet. You can eat whole nuts or nut butter and add them to smoothies, enjoy as a snack, eat with fruit, spread nut butter on rice cakes or bread, or add to salads.
What are the Top 5 Healthiest Nuts?
All nuts are packed with incredible nutrients to benefit the body. Here are 5 healthy nuts to enjoy daily:
- Almonds – Almonds are packed with biotin, vitamin E, copper, manganese, vitamin B2 and magnesium.
- Cashews – Cashew nuts have copper, phosphorous, manganese, magnesium and zinc.
- Brazil nuts – Brazil nuts are abundant in selenium, fibre, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium.
- Walnuts – Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fats, copper, manganese and biotin.
- Peanuts – Peanuts have a huge nutrient profile, including copper, protein, manganese, vitamin B3, folate, biotin and vitamin E.
Nuts: friend or foe? Nuts are only fattening to the body if you eat too many calories for your body, alongside a very high fat diet. Focus on eating wholesome wholefoods with a mix of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats to satisfy your body and taste buds. We all love a good spoonful (or two) of peanut butter, but keep mindful as you dive into that jar and enjoy it alongside a rice cake or two.
Check out How to Eat Better for inspiration!