Click to listen to the audio…
Nuts are NOT as fattening as you think !
I am not a big calorie counter…….
So the fact that nuts are a high calorie snack, doesn’t phase me.
I eat nuts, EVERYDAY ! I LOVE THEM.
In fact, the thing that curtails my nut consumption, is the noxious fumes I emit, when I have too many, not the calorie count.
But, I know for many people………. the CALORIE COUNT, is what keeps nuts, off their menu.
And the price. Eish ! They are rather expensive.
What if I told you, they actually NOT that high in calories. Seriously…..
They GOT THE CALORIE COUNT WRONG !
Are based on calculations, not actual measurements.
If you realize what a palaver it is to actually measure the calorie count of a food, you quickly realize, why for most foods, it’s calculated.
The calculation is based on Atwater factors…..
Calculating the calorie count
Which really just means, the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates is measured. It is assumed that a fixed percentage of these macronutrients, will be digested.
In the case of nuts………..
It is assume 78 % of the protein, 90 % of the fat and 97 % of the carbs, will be digested.
The rest will be pooped out.
But are nuts all that digestible ?
This is what a team of researchers, based at Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Centre in MD, set out to discover.
Nuts to volunteer ?
They enlisted the help of 18 PLUCKY healthy volunteers and fed them cashew nuts.
These guys had to collect all their poop and urine, every day for 7 days, on 2 separate occasions.
To nut or not to nut
The first occasion, served as the baseline, during this time, NO CASHEW nuts were consumed, the second occasion, corresponded with CASHEW snacking.
The size of the cashew nut snack was 42 g per day, that’s a generous handful.
21 g at breakfast and 21 g at dinner.
Everything else was kept pretty much the same, with all the meals and snacks, being provided by the research centre.
NOTE : Minor adjustments were made to ensure, the total calorie count was the same, on both occasions. These adjustments were individualized, so people did not lose or gain weight, during the study.
Cashew nut digestion
The team calculated what went in…………..in terms of the fat, nitrogen, energy and ash content.
Then they calculated what came out.
Both ends !
They used this information, to determine just how much of the cashew nut snack was assimilated, for each subject.
Here are the results…
Counting cashew calories
There were differences between individuals. Some people were good cashew nut digesters, some, not so much.
But, no one digested the nuts, as well as PREDICTED.
The “red” line shows what was expected, based on Atwater factors. In reality, the number of calories was on average, 16 % lower.
Yah ! Cashew nuts aren’t so fattening…..
It’s a nut thing
It’s a nut thing, not a cashew phenomenon.
The same thing happens when you eat
NOTE : In the case of pistachios the difference is quite small, only 5 %. In walnuts and almonds, the difference is in the order of 20 – 25 %.
The calories are ………………….
As plants, nut cells have a robust cell wall. Popping this open, is a little challenging for us humans.
It does happen…………..
But the contents of every nut cell, is not released.
Many whole nut cells make it out of the gut, still intact.
The more processed the nut is, the more likely it is that the cell wall will break somewhere along the digestive tract …………..
Allowing the contents to be digested.
Roasting nuts, increases the brittleness of the nut, making “chomping” on the nut, a little more effective, this means smaller particles are created.
A smaller particle is easier to digest.
Grinding up the nuts, to make a nut butter, will also result in smaller particles and increased nutrient digestibility.
But, when all is said and done…………..
Rethink nut snacks
Nuts are not as calorie dense, as we’ve been led to believe.
They’re pretty satiating and full of nutrients.
Some of their claims to fame : they’re high in magnesium, vitamin E and fiber ; all of these are nutrients, we’re often not getting enough of.
So, don’t be afraid to include nuts in your diet.
Stress brings out the need to nibble, for a diabetic, the choices are limited, so what should a diabetic snack on ?
Numerous studies have linked regular nut consumption to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. All nuts have talent but the nut of nuts is the walnut.
You feed your dog specifically formulated biscuits so it has all the nutrients a dog needs to be healthy but your gut bacteria have to keep going on leftovers.