Nuts: Nutritional Value and Diet Myths Debunked

While nuts are a delicious snack, you may have some confusion about nuts’ nutritional value, and whether or not they should be included in your diet. Before avoiding them completely, be sure to learn about their protein, fat and calorie content. You may be pleasantly suprised at the results.

Protein Content

One of the most important issues that must be discussed in an examination of the nutritional value of nuts is their protein content. Research has found that nuts contain one of the highest protein contents of all non-meat sources. This makes it a great choice for you if you are a vegan, a vegetarian, or simply are looking for a different way to get some more protein in your diet. Protein is essential not only in helping to maintain and promote new muscle mass, but also keeps your hair and nails looking healthy and shiny.

Fat Content

Nuts often get a bad rap due to their fat content. With all of the misinformation currently going around about fats in your diet, it is no suprise that people get confused when it comes to the fat in nuts. In reality, there are two basic types of fats, saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are the type found in meat and dairy products, and have been found to be linked to the development of cardiovascular disease, stroke and some types of cancer. In contrast, unsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts, avocados and some types of fish, have been found to be helpful in the prevention of these conditions. Therefore, the fat found in nuts is actually important for good health, and should be included in your diet on a regular basis.

Calorie Content

Another reason that nuts often get a bad rap is due to their calorie content. Unlike the misinformation regarding the type of fat found in nuts, the high calorie concern regarding nuts actually has some basis. As discussed above, nuts are composed of primarily protein and fat. While protein contains around four calories per gram, fat can contain as much as nine calories per gram. Since nuts do contain a significant number of fat grams, they are, therefore, relatively high in calories. For best results, nuts should only be eaten in moderation in order to prevent possible weight gain.

The Verdict: How Healthy Are Nuts?

So what does all of this mean? Should you add nuts to your diet? While nuts are relatively calorically dense, the good generally outweighs the bad. Nuts are such a great source of both dietary protein and unsaturated fat, which are essential for good health, that they should not be avoided. If you are dieting, be sure to limit your nut intake in order to prevent possible weight gain.

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