I have a thing for nuts. I absolutely love nuts – preferably lightly roasted ot just plain raw, some times salted. I actually love nuts so much I only buy them in small packages, because I want to eat them all – right away!
Nuts have long been unjustly labeled fattening and too rich in calories, but the last few years they have grown in popularity. When the Low Carb and GlutenFree wave hit us the hardest, almost any recipe could be adjusted to use nut flours instead of wheat. Now they are found in most diets for anything from weightloss to weightgain.
But how good are really nuts for us? Do they ever become too much?
One of the most fantastic qualities of nuts – beside the taste, is the omega 3 fatty acids, and some omega 6 fatty acids. Both of these are essential fatty acids, that we cant produce ourselves and therefor have to get through our diet.
Nuts are also a great source of protein, fiber, the vitamins B (including folate) and E, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and potassium.
It is true, my lovely nuts are as much as 13-21% made up of fats and are therefor quite rich in calories, but did you know, that people that regularly eat nuts have a lower BMI than those that don’t. That’s pretty great news for a nut-lover like me. Studies even show that because of the structure of the nut, not all of the fat is absorbed (as it would if you ate a tablespoon of butter..), but sent straight out with your feces. Because you have to chew the nuts so much to swallow them, they help you feel full faster too, and may even reduce your sweet tooth a bit?!
The suggested amount is 30-60 grams a day, which is not more than a handful or two.
If you want to eat more, it might be good to use it instead of something else like nut butter instead of butter etc. If you are in the position of trying to gain weight for whatever reason you can of course increase the amount.
Nasjonalt råd for ernæring. Kostråd for å fremme folkehelsen og forebygge kroniske sykdommer. Helsedirektoratet 2011.
Mattes RD og Dreher ML. Nuts and healthy body weight maintenance mechanism. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2010;19 (1):137-141 137.