Wait, aren’t nuts healthy?

When most people think of a healthy snack option, the first thing that often comes to mind are nuts. After all, nuts are an excellent source of many important macro and micronutrients. Here are a few examples

  • Almonds: Healthy fats, protein, fiber, and vitamin E.
  • Walnuts: Healthy fats including omega 3’s, fiber, magnesium, copper, folic acid, phosphorus, vitamin B6, manganese and vitamin E.
  • Cashews: Healthy fats, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium
  • Peanuts: Healthy fats, protein, biotin, phosphorus, copper, niacin, folate, manganese, vitamin E, thiamine, magnesium
  • Pistachios: Healthy fats, protein, fiber, carotenoids, vitamin B6, thiamine, copper

As you can see, nuts are packed full of goodness so it’s no wonder they make a great snack option. Now I know what you are thinking, “Wait! If they are so good for you, how could they be sabotaging my fat loss goals?” Like I mentioned here, the most important factor for setting up a proper fat loss diet is setting up a calorie deficit. While healthy fats are crucial for a well rounded diet, they are also more calorie dense than protein or carbohydrates. Fats come in at around 9 calories per gram. That’s over double the amount of calories per gram compared to protein and carbohydrates which both come in at 4 calories per gram. This is why the saying, “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing” is relevant in this case. Even though nuts are extremely healthy, too many can lead to extra unnecessary calories which can put you over your calorie needs and stall your fat loss goals. Let’s compare what a typical serving of nuts looks like compared to an actual serving to give you an idea of what I mean.

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing

walnutspistachiospeanut-butteralmondscashews

 

Summing it up

As you can see above, the calories can add up very quickly if you are not paying attention to the serving size. For instance, a couple of handfuls of almonds for a snack could be as many calories as a Big Mac! Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should opt for a Big Mac. The almonds will always be a better choice from an overall health standpoint. But for fat loss they both have the risk of putting you into a calorie surplus, the opposite of what you want. Here are a few tips on how to incorporate nuts into a fat loss diet:

  1. Use proper portion control, aim for about 1/4 cup of nuts per serving or 2 tbsp of nut butters
  2. Do not eat straight out of the jar or bag

For more nutrition tips and tricks, stay tuned for next week’s edition of Fuel Your Journey Nutrition Video/Blog Series!

Written by: Jesus Hernandez RDN, LD

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